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The main attraction on the Tuesday MLB schedule may just be in Houston, where the Houston Astros will host the New York Mets. While this game features two teams that garnered sky-high expectations coming into this season, the real reason for this game deserving top billing is the starting pitching matchup. With a familiar face returning to Houston to face a legitimate Cy Young contender, this game has no shortage of storylines on the bump.
The New York Mets enter Tuesday night as the fourth-place team in the NL East, sitting five games below .500 at 33-38 for the season. They have arguably been the biggest disappointment in baseball this season, though they are hoping that Justin Verlander can help to change that. Verlander gets the start on Tuesday, as he makes his first appearance on the mound in Houston since winning the AL Cy Young unanimously last season.
This season, Verlander has gone 2-3 in limited action due to injury, posting a 4.40 ERA in his 45.0 innings of work so far. Verlander has incredible familiarity with the opposing lineup in this game, due to the years he spent in Houston helping the Astros develop into a dynasty. But how Verlander will do against the Astros offense, and with any emotions stemming from his return, will be anyone’s guess.
New York’s offense got off to a strong start in this series against the Astros, scoring 11 runs in an 11-1 win on Monday night. Against Framber Valdez, the Mets' offense is likely to come back to Earth a bit in this game. But if they can run up the pitch count for Valdez and chase him in the first five innings or so, the Mets could very well steal this game as an underdog and move to 2-0 during this trip to Houston.
The Houston Astros enter Tuesday night’s action on a five-game losing streak, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds and Monday’s series-opening loss to the Mets. That losing streak has dropped the Astros to 39-34 on the season and into third place in the AL West standings behind the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels.
Fortunately for the Astros, they send Framber Valdez to the mound on Tuesday to attempt to stop the bleeding. Valdez has moved behind only Shane McClanahan of the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Cy Young race, as Valdez enters this matchup at 6-5 on the season with a 2.27 ERA. Valdez has not given up a home run in just over a month, which is huge as he gets set to take on a Mets lineup that features the powerful Pete Alonso.
Valdez may need to go deep into this game, as the bullpen of the Astros has seen way more action than the Astros would want to see over the last few games. Houston has allowed 30 runs combined over their last three games, forcing their bullpen to pitch 11 innings in the last three games. Valdez being at or near his best would be huge, if for no other reason than to give his bullpen a much-needed rest.
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Jay Sanin is a sports bettor and writer from New York. He has been handicapping since the moment he was old enough to gamble legally, with his specialties being niche sports like the WNBA and XFL. He’s been told he has a voice for radio. He also has a face for radio.More info on Jay Sanin
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