The Miami Marlins (63-57) enter play on Tuesday in possession of a National League Wild Card in hold of a Wild Card spot thanks to a win over the Houston Astros (68-52) on Monday. These teams will do battle in the second game of a crucial three-game series on Tuesday night, with first pitch from Miami scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET. Cristian Javier (8-2, 4.36 ERA) will get the start for the Astros, while Johnny Cueto (0-3, 5.33) will get the start for the Marlins.
Houston enters as a -130 moneyline favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Miami the +110 underdogs. The total is set for 8.5.
Astros-Marlins picks: Tuesday, August 15th
Out: RP Phil Maton (right elbow contusion), 1B Jose Abreu (lumbar spine inflammation), OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery)
Out: RP Huascar Brazoban (left hamstring strain), RP JT Chargois (right rib cage strain), RP Tommy Nance (right shoulder sprain)
Cristian Javier vs. Johnny Cueto
Javier enters tonight’s start on the back of a win against the Baltimore Orioles in which he allowed two runs on four hits in five innings. That said, the righty has been in the midst of a rough stretch this summer, as he boasts a 6.16 ERA over his last six starts (30.2 innings). Javier’s biggest problem as of late has been the home run, as he’s allowed nine long balls in his last 34.2 innings.
Cueto will take the mound for his sixth start of the season after missing most of the first four months due to biceps and ankle injuries. The last time out the veteran allowed three runs in five innings against the Cincinnati Reds. He’s also been plagued by the long ball this season (he’s allowed five home runs over his last three outings) but has recorded at least four strikeouts in each of his last three starts.
With both starters entering tonight’s game in the midst of a skid, I’m backing the over. While yesterday’s game cleared the under, i’m expecting a little more offense tonight.
Pick: Over 8.5
The Marlins make it two in a row. There was some good in Cueto’s last start against the Reds (he tossed three scoreless innings before allowing three straight two out hits in the fourth), and I think that should carry over into today’s start. He won’t be perfect, but I’m expecting him to be marginally better than Javier, which should be the difference.