The Houston Astros snuck past the Chicago Cubs yesterday thanks to a late-inning home run from Alex Bregman. Houston will look to take the series on Tuesday night when they send Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.47 ERA) to the mound against budding Chicago star Justin Steele (6-0, 1.82 ERA). First pitch from Minute Maid Park is set for 8:10 p.m. ET.
The Astros are -170 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsboook, while the Cubs are +145 underdogs. The total is set at 7.5.
Day to day: OF Cody Bellinger (ankle)
Out: 2B Nico Hoerner (left hamstring strain), SP Kyle Hendricks (right shoulder strain), RP Adrian Sampson (right knee), RP Brad Boxburger (right forearm strain)
Out: 2B Jose Altuve (fractured right thumb), OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery), SP Lance McCullers Jr. (right arm muscle strain), SP Jose Urquidy (right shoulder inflammation), SP Luis Garcia (Tommy John)
Justin Steele vs. Cristian Javier
After recording a 3.18 ERA in 24 starts last season, Steele has broken out this year to the tune of a 1.82 ERA in eight outings. While he doesn’t have overwhelming K/BB numbers, he generates a lot of ground balls (51.8% ground ball rate) and is in the 98th percentile in hard hit rate and the 95th percentile of average exit velocity. He’s coming off a start where he allowed three runs in six innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Javier’s having a bit of a down year compared to last season, as he’s posted a 3.47 ERA in 46.2 innings this year after finishing with a 2.54 mark in 2022. Hitters are averaging .250 off his fastball this season, which is nearly 70 points higher than what hitters averaged against the pitch last season. Javier still ranks in the 90th percentile in chase rate, but is struggling to limit hard contact (37th percentile).
While tonight’s game looks like it has the makings of a pitching duel, I’m backing the over here. Both of these teams have solid offenses, which I think will matter more than the pitchers on the mound.
Pick: Over 7.5
The Cubs pull off the upset. Javier hasn’t been as good as he’s been in years prior, while Steele has looked the part of an ace through the first month and a half. Chicago was in it for most of the game last night; tonight’s the night they get over the hump.