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Diamondbacks vs. Astros Odds, Preview, Prediction: How To Back Houston in First Five Innings (Friday, September 17)

Diamondbacks vs. Astros Odds, Preview, Prediction: How To Back Houston in First Five Innings (Friday, September 17) article feature image

Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Altuve, Houston Astros

Diamondbacks vs. Astros Odds

Diamondbacks Odds +185
Astros Odds -225
Over/Under 9.5
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

While a trip to the playoffs shouldn’t be in much doubt at this point for the Houston Astros, they still have some work to do in order to lock up a win in the AL West. The A’s and Mariners are tied at 77-66, just 6 1/2 games behind Houston in the division with elimination numbers of 14.

The Astros know it’s time to finish strong, and they will aim to stay on a run with a fifth win in seven tries on Friday against a shaky left-hander. With a clear motive to win and a desirable matchup, are the Astros who we should be attacking here? Let’s take a look at the numbers below.

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Diamondbacks Sputtering Toward End of Season

The Diamondbacks begin this weekend series with nine losses in their last 11, and the lone two wins came in succession in Seattle, where the Mariners are right in the thick of the postseason race.

As weird as those wins were, they seemed to make some sense, with good pitchers on the mound for Arizona and lefties on the hill for Seattle. Against left-handed pitching, the Diamondbacks have resembled a league-average offense. Against righties, they have not.

The Snakes own the second-worst wRC+ against righties this year at 79, and have hit .228 with a poor 24.7% strikeout rate in the split. In general over the last two weeks, even with those two wins over the Mariners, they’re still hitting just .211. This is a poor offense that has two quality bats in Ketel Marte and David Peralta then a whole lot of nothing.

Madison Bumgarner has had a whole lot of nothing lately, too. The southpaw just allowed five earned runs on eight hits over six innings against the lefty-averse Mariners and has now yielded exactly five in each of his last three outings. He’s walked a whopping 10 hitters in that run, allowing five homers in the process.

Houston Poised to Thrive vs. Bumgarner

The Astros will be licking their chops against Bumgarner. Not only has this been one of the hottest teams in baseball with two double-digit scoring nights in the last five games and the third-best wRC+ in the last two weeks, it’s also been the best offense against lefties all year with a 121 wRC+.

It’s a very imposing unit to face right now for any pitcher, let alone a struggling one, given Carlos Correa’s resurgence this week and the hitting of Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, who each rank among the top 30 in OPS over the last two weeks.

We’ve waxed poetic about the Astros’ offense, which should be the primary focus on Friday, but let’s take a look at the pitching matchup as well, which should favor Houston. It has the sixth-best bullpen ERA in the last two weeks and will be led by Brandon Bielak, who will make his first start in over a year.

This shouldn’t be a traditional bullpen game, considering Bielak did go six innings in that 2020 start against Colorado. He’s also been a multi-inning reliever out of the pen for Houston, and while he struggled earlier in the year he’s been stellar since the All-Star break with 10 scoreless innings.

Bielak has had issues with walks all year, but the Diamondbacks have not been very patient at all lately at the dish.

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Diamondbacks-Astros Pick

While the Diamondbacks have been an intriguing underdog at times this month as they attempt to play the role of spoiler, this is not one of those times.

Houston has been as hot as can be at the plate and has several players coming in with great numbers against Bumgarner, including Altuve, who has homered against him twice and hit .348 in 23 at-bats against the southpaw.

Bumgarner should be in for a long night and while Bielak’s peripherals indicate he may allow a few runs to a league-average offense, this Diamondbacks team has been a special kind of bad lately, particularly against righties. I have no issues taking the spread for the first five innings.

Pick: Astros First Five Innings -0.5 (-135)

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