Houston (55-46) at Detroit (54-48)
When: Friday, July 29th 2016
Where: Comerica Park, Detroit, MI
Time: 7:10 ET | TV: ROOT Houston, FSN Detroit
Two second place teams battle Friday night in Detroit as the Tigers host the Houston Astros to begin a three-game weekend series. The Astros salvaged the finale of their three-game series with the Yankees on Wednesday to finish the homestand 4-2. Houston is just 2.5 games back of Texas in the American League West. Jose Altuve will bring his 19-game road hitting streak into tonight’s contest in which he is 40-for-77. He also has 23 hits since the All-Star Break and his now hitting .357 on the season. One player for Houston who is going in the opposite direction is Colby Rasmus. The outfielder is just 1-for-31 over his last eight games. The Tigers have won five of their last seven after becoming the first team this season to sweep the Boston Red Sox. Miguel Cabrera homered for the second straight game in Wednesday’s 4-3 win to finish up a 5-for-10 series with three RBIs and three runs scored at Fenway Park. Detroit, which opens a nine-game homestand, has won 21 of its last 31 at Comerica Park.
Pitchers: Astros – Collin McHugh (7-6, 4.18 ERA) | Tigers – Matt Boyd (1-2, 4.63)
Collin McHugh has been really good over his last seven starts despite earning just two wins in that span. He’s won his last two starts after striking out 16 batters in 12 innings in victories over Seattle and the LA Angels. McHugh is 0-2 with a 3.72 ERA in three career starts against Detroit. He allowed eight runs and two homers in those starts versus the Tigers, the same totals that he has allowed over four July starts.
Matt Boyd allowed one run on seven hits with 11 strikeouts in two starts (11 innings) after being recalled in July, but was hit for three runs in 4.1 innings of a no-decision versus the Chicago White Sox on Saturday. Boyd struggled in his only encounter with Houston last August when he allowed a pair of solo homers to Rasmus and five runs total in as many innings of a no-decision. Boyd is 1-1 with a 2.01 ERA in four home games (three starts) this season with a 1.07 WHIP and .182 batting average against.
Both teams are playing well right now and chasing down their respective division leaders. Boyd has been pretty good at home, but his innings have been limited and I believe the big right-handed bats for Houston will get to him early. McHugh won’t be spectacular, but I think he does enough to get the job done. I’ll take Houston.
Pick: Astros -115