The Houston Astros start a weekend series against Cleveland on Friday night after a needed day off on Thursday. Our MLB handicapper likes the pitching matchup in favor of the home team in this one.
Charlie Morton starts this game for the Houston Astros, and he is coming off a great start in which I was backing him in beating the Yankees. All of the same things apply in this game and with his increase in velocity, the best K/9 rate in his career, and 3.33 FIP Morton has everything going for him here. Morton is being very tough on lefties on the season allowing only a .187 batting average. His BAA against right-handers still leaves a bit to be desired at .294, although that split drops to .266 at home.
Trevor Bauer takes the mound for the Indians in this game, owner of a 3-4 record and 6.92 ERA in 39 innings pitched. A simple fade against Charlie Morton, right? That would be the simplistic way of looking at it, but a quick scan shows that Bauer has had some bad home run luck on the year and his xFIP is sitting at 3.62. xFIP differs from FIP in that it is adjusted to the average amount of home runs allowed in the league. This suggests that Bauer’s 20.5% HR/FB rate is not sustainable and he will regress to his average of almost half that. Therefore, with two capable pitchers on the mound, I will be taking the Under 8.5 still available for this game as one of my Friday MLB Picks of the Day.