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Tigers vs. Astros MLB Odds & Picks: Expect Plenty of Runs Against Youngster Mize, Veteran Greinke (Monday, April 12)

Tigers vs. Astros MLB Odds & Picks: Expect Plenty of Runs Against Youngster Mize, Veteran Greinke (Monday, April 12) article feature image

Duane Burleson/Getty Images. Pictured: Case Mize

  • Zack Greinke is 37 years old and a former Cy Young Award winner.
  • Casey Mize is 23 years old and was the No. 1 pick in the MLB Draft just three years ago.
  • Where's the edge when they oppose each other on Monday night in Houston?

Tigers vs. Astros Odds

Tigers Odds +210
Astros Odds -250
Over/Under 8.5
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday evening and via DraftKings

The Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros will begin a three-game series Monday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros had a day off Sunday after dropping two-straight games at home to an Oakland team they swept to open the season. Houston is still off to a solid 6-3 start on the year.

The Detroit Tigers surprisingly started the year with two straight wins, and three in the first five games. Well, Detroit has since lost four consecutive games, most recently a three-game sweep at the hands of Cleveland.

Casey Mize, the 23-year-old former No. 1 overall pick, will make just his ninth career start against the 37-year-old and 2009 Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke.

Detroit Tigers

The right-handed Mize will make his second start of the year for Detroit, and the top pick in 2018 is still searching for his first career win.

Mize looked decent in his first start of the year on April 6 against Minnesota, allowing just one run and striking out four. However, he was pulled after just four innings after giving up five hits and two walks. Mize really struggled in his seven starts last season, only making it through five innings once (5 1/3), and recording a 6.99 ERA and 6.47 FIP.

Control has been a big issue for Mize thus far, as he posted a 4.13 BB/9 and just a 8.26 K/9 last year.

The Tigers’ lineup leaves something to be desired as they have started the year ranked 25th in both wOBA and wRC+. The one bright side of their lineup appears to be 22-year-old Akil Baddoo. After making his MLB debut on April 4, the outfielder has notched five hits, seven RBI and two home runs in just 16 at bats.

Baddoo is one of just three Tigers with a current wRC+ better than 100, along with catcher Wilson Ramos and outfielder Robbie Grossman. Ramos has three home runs already this year and a hard hit percentage of 90.

Miguel Cabrera was placed on the 10-day IL Sunday with a biceps strain, but with all due respect to his incredible career, it’s probably not that meaningful a loss in the year 2021.

Houston Astros

After, what appeared to be a down year last season for the former Cy Young Award winner, Greinke has looked like his usual self so far in 2021. In two starts, Greinke has pitched 13 innings, allowing just two runs and eight hits while striking out eight.

When you dig into Greinke’s 2020 season, he actually pitched better than it seemed. Despite a 3-3 record and 4.03 ERA, he had a FIP of 2.80, implying he was the victim of a lot of bad luck and poor fielding. His 9.00 K/9 was higher than his previous two seasons and a 1.21 BB/9 was the best of his 17-year career.

Greinke has seen his velocity progressively decline, averaging around 88 mph the last two seasons. To help combat that, he has thrown his changeup and curveball more frequently, throwing the change 22.6% of the time last season and the curve 15.0%, both career highs. That strategy seems to be continuing because through two games, he has thrown his changeup 25.3% of the time and curveball 19.7%.

I’m not sure if the trash cans are back or what, but the Astros’ lineup sure seems to have bounced back after a down year at the plate. Last season, Houston ranked 20th in batting average (.240), 13th in runs per game (4.67), 18th in wOBA (.311), and 17th in wRC+ (100). So far in 2021, they currently sit fourth in batting average (.280), second in runs per game (6.22), third in wOBA (.362) and third in wRC+ (138).

Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, José Altuve, Yuli Gurriel and Michael Brantley are all tearing the cover off the ball and have batting averages better than .310. The 34-year-old Brantley and 37-year-old Gurriel have been especially impressive early. Gurriel has come out of the gates with a wOBA at .448 and wRC+ of 195. Brantley has been even more impressive, with a wOBA of .495 and wRC+ of 227.

Tigers-Astros Pick

A year without fans in the stands probably did the Houston Astros a lot of good. They seem to have fully put the cheating scandal behind them and are back to mashing the baseball (hopefully legally).

Mize has never faced a member of the Astros lineup before, and he might be in for a rude introduction the way they have hit the ball early this season.

While Greinke has been solid this season, his strikeout rate is a bit concerning, and the Tigers do have a couple guys who consistently hit the ball hard and have home run power. Once we get past Greinke, the Astros’ bullpen ranks just 22nd in FIP this season, and is still missing some guys on the back end.

I think the Tigers can chip in enough runs here, and combined with the red-hot Astros’ lineup, against a promising but presently pretty bad pitcher, will push this total over 8.5.

Pick: Over 8.5 (-115)

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