Astros riding a hot hand

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Above all other sports, baseball is a game of streaks.

Right now, there is no team streaking like the Houston Astros. Houston has won nine straight outings going into Tuesday’s game vs. Oakland. But something has piqued my interest.

A season ago, Houston won more games on the road than it did at home (57-24 away, 46-35 home). What I have a concern about is that this season the Astros are a perfect 6-0 at Minute Maid Park, but are scoring just 3.10 runs per game and are only 5-5 as a visitor.

The other item that we need to keep an eye on is what’s happening in the AL East. Preseason favorites Boston and New York are both sporting sub-.500 records. The Red Sox are not hitting the ball with as much authority as in recent years, but it has been their pitching that has absolutely crushed the team. They rank 29th, with a whopping team ERA of 5.99.

Even if their lineup heats up, if their pitching doesn’t settle down, this is going to be a very long and disappointing campaign.

The Yankees are another story. Their injury list rivals that of the New England Patriots (LOL), with seven significant position players and four pitchers (two starters, two relievers) all shelved with injuries.

Unlike Boston, I do believe that by mid-May, when they get healthier, the Yanks will start padding their win column.

Many are shocked at Tampa Bay’s success as they Rays are in first place in the AL East at 12-4 and are in front by 5.5 games. But don’t forget, this is a Rays team that won 90 games in 2018 and was slated to win 85 in 2019.

One thing for sure, stay away from high prices with Boston and New York right now. 

Wednesday

Chicago Cubs at Miami Marlins: One thing that will heat up the Cubs is playing the frigid Marlins. Chicago has taken four in a row and seven of the last 10 meetings vs. Miami, including Game 1 of this series, 7-2.

The Marlins own the worst record in baseball (4-13) due in a large part to the majors’ 28th ranked scoring lineup (2.82 RPG). The Cubs are hitting the ball well, ranking in the Top-10 in every major offensive category, and accounting for over 6.90 RPG on the road.

Overall, their pitching has been inconsistent. Sending Cole Hamels, who is making his 398th career start, will change all that. The veteran lefty is 2-0 with an ERA of 3.79 on the campaign. Miami gives Sandy Alcantara the start. The right-hander is 1-1 with an ERA of 4.24 in 2019 and is making just his 10th career start.

The Marlins are 2-5 in Alacantara’s last seven starts, 1-6 the last seven games played at home and 0-4 the last four games played vs. the NL Central. CUBS

Thursday

Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies: Being in the competitive NL East is a tough task. But Philadelphia is holding its own at 9-6.

Colorado has had their way in this National League matchup, taking the last four in a row and seven of the last 10 meetings.

But this is a much different Rockies team than last year. They finished in second place in the NL West with 91 victories a season ago, but are currently dwelling in the cellar of the division at 5-12. Historically, they are one of the more successful home teams in the majors.

Not this season, as they are 0-5 at Coors Field, and are being outscored by an average of 4.60 RPG. In comes a Phillies team with a very dangerous lineup, accounting for over 6.20 RPG on the road. They send Zach Eflin to the hill. The righty is 2-1 with a respectful, 3.94 ERA, striking out 18 in 16.0 IP.

Kyle Freeland gets the nod at home for Colorado. The left-hander owns a 1-3 mark and a 5.40 ERA on the season. Philadelphia is 5-0 the last five in Game 1 of a series and 11-5 the last 16. PHILLIES

Last week: 2-0

Season: 5-3

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