Tigers rookie Parker Meadows delivered one of the moments of the season on Friday night, launching his first career MLB homer to lift Detroit (59-69) to a dramatic comeback win over the Houston Astros (72-58) in the series opener between these two teams. Houston will look to get back on track and keep pace in the AL Wild Card race in game two on Saturday, with first pitch from Comerica Park set for 6:10 p.m. ET. They’ll send righty Hunter Brown (9-9, 4.50 ERA) to the mound, while the Tigers counter with Eduardo Rodriguez (9-6, 3.03).
The Astros enter as -130 favorites on the moneyilne at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Detroit at +110. The run total is set at 8.5.
Astros-Tigers picks: Saturday, August 26
Out: INF Grae Kessinger (health and safety protocols), RP Phil Maton (elbow), OF Michael Brantley (shoulder)
Out: RP Mason Englert (hip)
Hunter Brown vs. Eduardo Rodriguez
Brown looked like a young building block for the Astros in the first half, but he’s struggled of late, with a 5.92 ERA in July and an even uglier 7.02 mark in August. He’s coming off his shortest outing of the season, as the 24-year-old was lit up to the tune of six runs on eight hits and two walks in just 2.2 innings in a loss to the Mariners last weekend. The talent remains very much there — the righty has posted 143 Ks over 128 innings this year — but his feel for his slider and curveball has come and gone seemingly at random.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, remains rock steady, pitching to a 3.28 ERA after nixing his potential deadline deal to the Dodgers. The lefty has allowed two or fewer runs in five of his last seven starts, including 6.2 innings of one-run ball in a win last time out against the Guardians. He did struggle against these Astros earlier this year, though, allowing four runs on six hits and two walks in 4.2 frames in a loss back in early April.
Don’t sleep on Detroit’s offense: With Akil Baddoo, Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson and Kerry Carpenter at the top of the order, the Tigers pack a surprising punch, ranking in the top 10 in team OPS against right-handed pitching this month. Brown is plenty capable of shoving in this spot, but he’s also capable of giving up a crooked number, and when you combine that with the success these Astros have had at the plate of late (MLB’s second-best offense against lefties this month) and Rodriguez earlier this year, I’m taking the over.
Pick: Over 8.5
Houston should come out hungry after having a win snatched away from them in heartbreaking fashion last night — and with the Blue Jays now just 1.5 games back for the third and final AL Wild Card spot. Unless Brown totally implodes, I think they match up well against Rodriguez and should even this series tonight.