After two wild games in Mexico, the San Francisco Giants returned to the States and immediately lost their first game to the Houston Astros. That loss made it four straight for the Giants as they’ll look to get back in the win column tonight, and we’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
The Giants' pitching staff has had their fair share of troubles to start the season, and heading over to Mexico did not help with that as they allowed 16 runs in game one and six in game two in their two-game series over there. Returning to the States, unfortunately, did not help the staff come back down to Earth as they allowed seven runs in last night’s loss, including a five-run seventh inning that broke a tie and put the game out of reach.
Tonight the Giants will look to Anthony DeSclafani to provide them with a quality start and get them heading somewhat in the right direction. The veteran righty has been the Giants' best starter this season and will be making his sixth start of the year tonight. Up to this point, DeSclafani has thrown 30 innings while putting up a 2.70 ERA with 27 strikeouts and three walks.
DeSclafani will take on an Astros lineup that has won two straight games and is third in the league in line drive percentage. Houston’s lineup features a highly motivated Mauricio Dubón, who stated after yesterday’s game how much he enjoys beating the Giants since he feels he was mistreated in his time with the organization. The second baseman went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a stolen base.
On the mound tonight for Houston will be young right-hander Hunter Brown, who has been highly impressive in his first full season in the Majors. Through five starts and 30.3 innings of work, Brown has a 2.37 ERA with 32 strikeouts and ten walks. In his most recent outing, Brown turned in the most impressive start of his career by throwing seven scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays with eight strikeouts and just two hits allowed.
The Houston Astros run-line of (-1.5) is currently priced at (+130), and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. The Giants are 1-7 in their last eight road games and 0-5 in their previous five games against a right-handed starter. San Francisco may have their best statistical starter on the mound tonight, but one close look at his advanced numbers, and it's clear the Astros still hold an advantage tonight.
DeSclafani enters tonight in the 12th percentile in barrel percentage, 30th percentile in average exit velocity, and his 50% hard-hit percentage is in the bottom 9% of the league. All of the right-hander's expected numbers show he is due for a regression soon, as his expected slugging percentage of .463 and xWOBA of .326 are both well above the league average.
On the other hand, Hunter Brown has proven his numbers are sustainable, as the righty is in the 80th percentile in barrel percentage, 87th percentile in expected slugging, and 70th percentile in strikeout percentage. The young right-hander is well above the league average in ground ball percentage, but with his strikeout numbers, he could give a Giants lineup with the highest strikeout percentage in the league a lot of problems.
Houston Astros (-1.5)(+130)