Guardians plus $1.50 at Astros

I don’t get the love for Houston here. The 10-19 Astros have been one of the biggest underachievers in baseball. The Guardians, by contrast, are tied for the second-best record in the majors at 19-10. 

Houston starter Justin Verlander is royalty. But this is just his third start of the season as he works his way into shape. The Astros’ bullpen has the sixth-highest ERA at 4.90. Star closer, Josh Hader, is unlikely to see action after pitching two innings last night, while throwing a season-high 33 pitches. Hader had not gotten more than three outs in a regular-season game since 2020. 

Cleveland starter, righty Triston McKenzie, is a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. He’s given up three runs in his last two games spanning nine innings recording 13 strikeouts during this time frame. The Astros are 6-12 vs righties. 

McKenzie is backed by the top bullpen in baseball. Cleveland relief pitchers have a combined ERA of 2.49, which is the lowest in the league. 

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