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The Astros will travel to Miami to face the Marlins in the first of a three-game series. With there being only around 40 games left in the regular season, this series will have massive playoff implications.
Both teams are fighting to secure a playoff spot. Houston has come alive at the right time, pushing for the AL West title. A scrappy Marlins team with their own goals of a Wild Card spot will definitely have something to say about that in this series. Game 1 will occur Monday night at 6:40 p.m. ET and can be viewed nationally on ESPN+.
The Astros are coming from a three-game series against the Angels, where they prevailed. Before that, Houston traveled to Baltimore, beating the Orioles twice in three games.
Framber Valdez didn’t pitch well in his last start, but he will be on the mound Monday night looking for a rebound start. He will make his 23rd start of the season. In his last start against Baltimore, Valdez pitched seven innings giving up eight hits and six earned runs while only generating three strikeouts.
The Marlins have shown signs of life plenty of times this season, but they have trouble sustaining their success. Miami will enter this series after hosting the Yankees in a three-game series, winning just one of the three. The Marlins will send Braxton Garrett to the mound for his 23rd start of the year. In his last outing against the Reds, he pitched six innings, giving up six hits and just two earned runs with three strikeouts.
Garrett has been extremely productive for the Marlins this season, but the balls are flying way too well for Houston at the moment. We expect Valdez to be able to come out and bounce back from his performance against the O’s and grab a close win against Miami. However, both teams hit left-handers very well, so for this one, let's stay safe and take the over.
Houston has been the team to beat lately, winning 10 of their last 13 games. Valdez had a handful of rough outings before showing up to face Cleveland, where he threw a complete game no-hitter.
Besides that contest, the previous six games for Valdez have been terrible for the lefty. He has allowed 42 hits, 27 earned runs, and 33 strikeouts in those six games. On the season, he's got a 9-7 record and a 3.30 ERA through 142 innings. Yet, the potential is there for the pitcher. There have only been three no-hitters this season, and Valdez has one of them.
Garrett will look to grind out another close win against the Astros. As of late, he's looked a little shaky but doesn't pick up many losses because his bullpen often comes in and saves the day.
Nevertheless, he's still a solid option with a 6-3 record, 4.08 ERA, and 125 strikeouts through 117 innings. Garrett has done a nice job in the middle of the rotation for his team, but we expect him to get hit by Houston. This is one of the biggest factors in betting the over in this game.
Houston sits just 2.5 games back of the Rangers in the AL West with plenty of time to make the push for the division crown. Regardless of what happens from here on out, the Astros will have no problem making the postseason.
The Astros did not accumulate this record just by fantastic pitching. A lot of their success has to do with their ability to score early and often against some of the best teams in the league.
Houston currently ranks ninth in home runs with 153, sixth in RBIs with 561, and tenth in total bases with 1676. The bullpen hasn't done a bad job either, giving up the fourth least earned runs with only 443 and the group is also third in the league in team ERA with 3.79.
The Marlins currently sit 15 games back and in third place in the NL East behind the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. While a division win is most likely out of reach, a wild card spot is not for the club. Miami is just a half-game back from the Cubs for the final NL Wild Card spot.
Miami has hit lefties very well this season, with a batting average of .303 this season. They are also fourth in the league in total hits with 1050, but they rank towards the bottom of baseball in RBI’s with 456.
The Marlins have the third-best batting average in the MLB at .262. The problem is the Marlins lead the league in grounding into double plays with 120. The next closest team to them is the Blue Jays with 99.
They can make good contact with the ball until runners are in the scoring position. If they can fix these weak spots in the next few years, we could see a very dangerous Miami Marlins club for years to come.
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Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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