Friday’s Major League Baseball Best Bet: Houston Astros

May 15, 2015


Toronto right-hander R.A. Dickey is 1-4 with a 5.00 ERA and 1.28 WHIP this season, including going 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA and 1.44 WHIP on the road and 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA and 1.19 WHIP over his last three outings. Dickey’s dismal start to the 2015 Major League Baseball campaign is fully supported by his underlying metrics, which paint a disturbing picture for Toronto fans:

R.A. Dickey’s 2015 Metrics:

5.74 FIP & 5.29 xFIP
5.49 SIERA
4.00 K/9 (worst since the 2006 season)
3.80 BB/9 (worst since the 2009 season)
1.4 HR/9 (worst since the 2006 season)

Let’s also note that Dickey is 204 with a career 4.67 ERA and 1.24 WHIP versus the Astros, including owning a career 0-2 record with a 5.40 ERA at Minute Maid Park. In fact, the last three times Dickey has faced the Astros, he has allowed fifteen earned runs on 22 hits in just 20 innings of work. Giving up the long ball is also a red flag for the knuckle-baller as he has yielded a Major League Baseball-high 68 home runs since 2013. Houston is second in the Majors with 49 home runs.

“I’m frustrated,” Dickey said. “I’m tired of saying I’m one poor pitch away from a good outing every outing.” “It’s all about making adjustments … you have to really keep your head up and keep searching for answers and grinding it out,” Dickey said. In short, Dickey completely lacks confidence at this juncture of the season and now faces a team he has struggled against in his Major League Baseball career. Toronto’s bullpen has also struggled this season, posting a 4.74 ERA on the road and a 4.41 ERA at night.

Meanwhile, Houston starter Dallas Keuchel is enjoying a phenomenal 2015 campaign, going 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. The crafty southpaw is also 2-0 with a 0.43 ERA and 0.85 WHIP at home and 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 0.87 WHIP at night. Keuchel is also a perfect 2-0 with a career 2.95 ERA and 1.17 WHIP versus the Blue Jays, including yielding just one earned run in his last fourteen innings pitched against Toronto.

Dallas Keuchel’s 2015 Metrics:

2.83 FIP & 3.25 xFIP
3.31 SIERA
63.8% GB%
0.17 HR/9

How good has Keuchel been? Consider that the left-hander is 6-0 with a 1.65 ERA in twelve starts since losing at Yankee Stadium on August 21. Keuchel is also supported by an effective Houston bullpen that boasts a 2.13 ERA and 0.84 WHIP this season, including a 2.02 ERA and 0.77 WHIP at home, a 2.37 ERA and 0.86 WHIP at night and a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over the last seven games. Houston’s bullpen owns an incredible 117/23 K/BB ratio in 110.0 innings of work.

From a technical standpoint, Toronto is a money-burning 17-35 as a road underdog, 7-20 on the road versus teams with a winning home record and 3-8 in its last eleven games versus American League West opposition. With Dickey toeing the rubber, the Blue Jays are 3-13 as underdogs, 3-8 versus A.L. West foes and 0-4 in their last four road games. In contrast, the Astros are a profitable 11-4 versus right-handed starters, 11-5 as favorites and 18-7 in their last 25 games overall. With Keuchel on the mound, Houston is 11-1 in its last twelve games, including 4-0 in game 2 of a series.

Finally, tonight’s home plate umpire, Brian Onora, is a 64.5% winning proposition for home teams over the last three seasons, including 80% this season. Look for Toronto to lose its fifth straight at Minute Maid Park – take the Astros in the Major League Baseball clash and invest with confidence.

Major League Baseball Best Bet: Houston Astros (-131)