Houston Astros’ Michael Brantley, left, celebrates with Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel after hitting a solo home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox in Chicago, Friday, July 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
- Sunday, July 18th sees the AL West leading Astros taking on the AL Central leading White Sox, as well as the the series finale between the Mets and Pirates
- Hyun Jin Ryu also leads the Blue Jays against Kolby Allard and the Rangers
- See our preview and best bets for Sunday’s MLB action below
This weekend’s series between the AL West leading Houston Astros and AL Central leading Chicago White Sox on paper should have been a gem. The reality however, couldn’t be further from the truth.
Houston beat up on Chicago 7-1 in the series opener on Friday, and then the White Sox returned the favor on Saturday, crushing the Astros 10-1.
Perhaps Sunday, the series finale will produce the kind of close, competitive baseball that fans had been hoping for.
MLB Picks for July 18th
|Houston Astros vs Chicago White Sox||U 8||-102|
|New York Mets vs Pittsburgh Pirates||Mets||-140|
|Texas Rangers vs Toronto Blue Jays||O 7.5||-110|
All odds as of July 17th at FanDuel.
Houston Astros vs Chicago White Sox
- First pitch at 2:10pm ET; Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago, Illinois
- Framber Valdez (5-1, 2.98 ERA) vs Carlos Rodon (7-3, 2.31 ERA)
The pitching matchup certainly hints at a tight, low scoring affair as both Framber Valdez and Carlos Rodon have been excellent this season.
Astros vs White Sox Odds
|Houston Astros||-1.5 (+152)||-104||O 8 (-120)|
|Chicago White Sox||+1.5 (-184)||-112||U 8 (-102)|
Valdez has surrendered three runs or less in all but one of his nine starts in 2021, and has held White Sox batters to just two runs in 9.2 career innings.
Rodon meanwhile, has been even better limiting opposing offenses to one run or less in 10 of 15 outings. He allowed only one run and three hits in 7 innings or work last month versus the Astros, and has a career 1.83 ERA against Houston in six starts. The problem for Rodon however, has been a lack of run support.
Carlos Rodón is out there doing his thing. pic.twitter.com/nmuPpvZAN0
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) June 19, 2021
Chicago has produced four runs or less in nine of Rodon’s last 12 starts, squandering a handful of winnable games. 66% of his outings this season have failed to produce a total above 7, while the White Sox have scored three or fewer runs in five of six games versus the Astros in 2021.
Pick: Under 8 (-102)
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New York Mets vs Pittsburgh Pirates
- First pitch at 1:05 pm ET; PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Taijuan Walker (7-3, 2.50 ERA) vs JT Brubaker (4-9, 4.47 ERA)
Despite being severely overmatched on paper, the Pittsburgh Pirates have exceeded expectations against the NL East leading New York Mets this season. The NL Central cellar dwellers are 4-2 versus the Mets, and are fresh off a walk-off victory on Saturday
Mets vs Pirates Odds
|New York Mets||-1.5 (+130)||-140||O 8.5 (-120)|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||+1.5 (-150)||+120||U 8.5 (-102)|
The problem for the Pirates in the series finale, is they have no idea which JT Brubaker is going to show up. Pittsburgh’s number one starter has looked fantastic at times this season, but has been absolutely rocked in his last two starts.
Jonathan Villar ties it up with an absolute 💣! #LGM pic.twitter.com/zOf9R2ZyTw
— GENY Mets Report (@genymets) July 10, 2021
Last time out against this same New York team, he surrendered six runs in an eventual 13-4 loss, and in his previous outing he coughed up five runs to the Brewers. It’s the second time this season he’s allowed 11 runs combined in two starts, which is not something you expect to see out of the team’s top starter.
The Mets will counter with Taijuan Walker, who’s surrendered two runs or less in 13 of 16 starts, including last time out against Pittsburgh. The 28-year-old allowed four hits over 5 innings, and is on pace for the best statistical season of his career.
2021 ALL-STAR TAIJUAN WALKER ⭐@tai_walker pic.twitter.com/YCgBjBCpCZ
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 10, 2021
Don’t let Saturday’s nine run outburst by the Pirates fool you. This is still the same team that is averaging a league low 3.55 runs per game, and is a slugging a dismal .365 on the campaign.
Pick: New York Mets Moneyline (-140)
Texas Rangers vs Toronto Blue Jays
- First pitch at 1:07 pm ET; Sahlen Field, Buffalo, New York
- Hyun Jin Ryu (8-5, 3.56 ERA) vs Kolby Allard (2-6, 3.69 ERA)
Only four teams in baseball have scored more runs than the Toronto Blue Jays, and they’re in prime position to pad their lofty run total on Sunday. The Jays will take on the Texas Rangers, who surrendered 10 runs to Toronto on Friday, and have seen eight of their past 13 games go over the total.
Rangers vs Blue Jays Odds
|Texas Rangers||OFF||+195||O 7.5 (-110)|
|Toronto Blue Jays||OFF||-240||U 7.5 (-110)|
The AL West bottom feeders have been outscored 22-7 during a three-game losing streak, and have allowed the sixth most runs in the American League. Kolby Allard will get the ball for Texas, fresh off allowing nine runs, including four home runs, in his past two starts.
Best pitchers according to FIP since the June 21st crackdown (min 20 IP):
Zack Wheeler 1.49
Jake Odorizzi 2.07
Jon Gray 2.30
Brandon Woodruff 2.38
German Marquez 2.40
Vladimir Gutierrez 6.25
Ross Stripling 6.07
J.A. Happ 5.57
Mike Minor 5.51
Kolby Allard 5.48
— Steve Buchanan (@SBuchanan24) July 15, 2021
Hyun Jin Ruy will toe the rubber for the Blue Jays, and while he was excellent in his last outing, he allowed nine runs of his own in his previous two starts combined. Ryu has surrendered four runs or more in three of his past seven starts, and eight of the past nine games he’s pitched in have gone over the total.
The over is 25-17-2 in Rangers away games this season, while 55.3% of Blue Jay home contests have also eclipsed the total.
Pick: Over 7.5 (-110)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.