Astros vs Pirates Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Pick on Wednesday, April 12
Pictured: Yordan Alvarez. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
- The Pittsburgh Pirates host the Houston Astros in a Wednesday MLB matinee.
- Jose Urquidy is set to take the mound for Houston, while Pittsburgh will send out veteran left-hander Rich Hill.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including how to bet it.
Astros vs. Pirates Odds
-105 / -115
-105 / -115
Rich Hill has had a rough start to his 2023 campaign. He has allowed 10 earned runs to the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds in a total of nine innings. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ veteran now has to go up against one of the most potent lineups in baseball — the Houston Astros.
Houston is one of the best hitting teams against left-handers, even without José Altuve and Michael Brantley in the lineup. The Pirates lost Oneil Cruz over the weekend and are also missing Austin Hedges from the lineup.
This game will likely yield plenty of Houston runs, so be ready to target the total in Wednesday’s Astros vs Pirates game.
José Urquidy will start for Houston in this one. Although he is one of the weaker arms in Houston’s starting rotation, he is fairing pretty well in the early going. He owns a 3.86 ERA over 9 1/3 innings and also ranks in the 86th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 94th percentile in chase rate, which may carve up some Pittsburgh hitters. Urquidy pitches to contact more than blowing it past batters, but should find success against a Pirates lineup missing Cruz.
The Houston lineup may be short-handed, but they can still hit lefties. So far this season, Houston owns a 144 wRC+ off of lefties with only a 12.2% strikeout rate and a .352 OBP. Yes, the sample size is only 82 plate appearances, but this only ranks below the Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays. In 2022, Houston held the second-best wRC+ off of lefties (124) with a 17.4% strikeout rate, so the Astros are picking up right where they left off.
The Houston relief staff is again one of the best in baseball again. They have a 3.89 xFIP over 40 1/3 innings, which ranks fifth in MLB. They also own a 26%+ strikeout rate.
Rich Hill might be showing his age (43) a little bit. In 2022, he ranked in the 76th percentile in Hard-Hit Rate and the 56th percentile in Average Exit Velocity. Now, he ranks in the 44th and 15th percentile, respectively. He still drops in the curveball more than most — roughly 42% of his pitches — which can keep some hitters off balance, but Houston is 9-for-27 off off-speed pitches in 2023.
The Pirates are below average, yet again, off of right-handers (90 wRC+). They do have a 9.5% walk rate, but this shouldn’t be much of an issue for Urquidy, who has only walked 5.2% of hitters over the course of his career. Losing Cruz hurts Pittsburgh immensely. Bryan Reynolds is hitting the cover off of the ball against righties (.632 xwOBA), while Andrew McCutchen, Jack Suwinski and Connor Joe have xwOBA marks over .400. No one else on the active roster has a .300+ xwOBA, so once Urquidy gets to the bottom of the lineup, he should be fine.
In addition, the Pirates bullpen is weaker than Houston’s. They are not horrible (4.03 xFIP), but they are walking nearly 10% of hitters. David Bednar is propping up the rest of the relief staff with a 1.48 xFIP. The Pirates have a few other effective arms, but if the Astros get to Hill, the best relievers likely won’t enter the game in a landslide.
Astros vs. Pirates Betting Pick
The Astros can hit lefties and Hill is struggling. Sure, they may get a little off balance at times with his curve, but bet this based on Hill’s inability to strike out batters. The Astros should hit their team total in this game. Bet it from 5 (-105) and play to 5.5 (-120).
Pick: Houston Astros Over 5 (-105) | Play to 5.5 (-120)
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