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The Astros have been the best team in baseball over the past 84 games, going 57-27 in that stretch. During that time, their offense has been good but their pitching staff has been dominant and on Thursday they have the best pitcher in baseball on the mound in Justin Verlander. The Guardians are 11-6 in their last 17 and are seven games over .500 at home, but there’s no reason to fade Houston.
Garcia’s 2022 record: (30-21)
Pick made on 08/03/2022 at 09:16 PM EST
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Right now, there isn’t much argument to be made against Justin Verlander as the Cy Young front runner in the American League. Verlander, who has twice won the award and three times finished as the runner up, is having maybe the best season of his career – and that’s including his MVP season in 2011.
Verlander is a league leading 14-3, with an MLB best 1.81 ERA. His 0.87 WHIP is second in baseball and he has 122 strikeouts in 124 innings. Houston is 14-2 the last 16 games he’s started as Verlander has given up one run or fewer in eight of his last nine outings and 14 out of his 19 games on the season.
He’s pitched at least seven innings in 10 of his starts and six or more in all but three of them. The Astros have won by two runs or more in eight of his last nine games.
Zach Pleasc, meanwhile, has had almost the exact opposite season. The 27-year-old is 2-9 this year with a 4.33 ERA, but his WHIP isn’t as high as you’d expect for someone with that record, coming in at 50th in the MLB at 1.29.
Plesac had a good month of June, going six innings in each of his five starts, all of which were quality starts, but he got little runs support so he went 1-1 despite having a 2.10 ERA. However in his last four starts, he’s given up 14 earned runs in 18.2 innings.
Cleveland got off to a slow start offensively this season, but since the All-Star break has been better.
The Guardians rank in the top 10 since the all star break in batting average (sixth) and on-base percentage (ninth) and are 12th in OPS and 13th in slugging but most importantly have scored the fourth most runs in that stretch.
Cleveland has scored four runs or more in seven of its last nine games, which is going to have to be its recipe for winning if it will get into the Wild Card game or catch the Twins atop the division.
Houston, meanwhile, is fifth in runs scored since the All-Star break as the depth of the lineup is starting to show. Yordan Alvarez has been one of the five best hitters in baseball this season, but Jose Altuve (.305), Alex Bregman (.300) and Yuli Gurriel (.292) have all started to heat up since the All-Star break.
For Houston, we’re going to take a look at Kyle Tucker who has done quite well on the road this season. 13 of his 19 home runs and 40 of his 67 RBIs have come away from Minute Maid park and he has an .882 OPS, second best on the team, when on the road.
For the Guardians, it’s really a crap shoot to see if somebody can string a hit or two together against Verlander. The best option seems to be Andres Gimenez, who’s hitting .310 vs right-handed pitching this year with an .890 OPS.
Take a look at the predictions for World Series Winner, here!
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|Teams||Houston Astros vs Cleveland Guardians|
|Location||Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio|
|Time||Thursday, August 4, 7:10 pm|
|How to watch||Bally Sports Great Lakes, AT&T SportsNet Southwest|
Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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