Reds vs Astros Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Friday, June 16
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonathan India
The Payoff Pitch podcast MLB experts break down their favorite picks from the day's slate every Monday, Tuesday and Friday, including each analyst's favorite underdog on the slate, and they've got one more to recommend today.
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Reds vs. Astros, 8:10 p.m. ET
Andrew Abbott vs. J.P. France
Charlie DiSturco:I'm pretty high on Andrew Abbott as a whole. If you look at his minor league numbers, he's got a 3.66 xFIP with a high strikeout rate in Triple-A. If you look at his numbers this season, he has a 3.89 xERA. He hasn't allowed a run yet; that will probably change tonight. He has a .229 xBA and a .335 xSLG, so those are pretty promising numbers from him.
His biggest issues are his walks and his command, and if he's able to locate. If he's able to hone in on his control, I think that the Reds have found themselves a pretty high-leverage arm toward this playoff push they are trying to make.
Looking at the other side, J.P. France's minor league numbers are more concerning than what he has right now in the majors. He has a 4.68 xFIP in 2023, and a 5.07 xFIP in Triple-A in 2022 with a high walk rate.
Like Abbott, he puts a lot of runners on base, but the difference here for me is that France is the worse starting pitcher. He has a .265 batting average on balls in play and is in the bottom 1% of pitchers in chase rate, so he is not generating swings and misses out of the zone.
The Reds, in the last couple of weeks, have really honed in on their plate discipline. Their young talent, except for Elly De La Cruz, really does not swing out of the zone. France, with his low strikeout rate, his high walk rate, and his troubles with xBA and xSLG, makes me like the Reds here.
Another key thing when you look at the Astros is that they had a long series with Washington with back-to-back extra inning games. Hector Neris and Ryan Pressly both threw back-to-back outings. They went 1-1 in that span with Washington, and now their bullpen that is so dominant has arguably their two best arms unavailable for this matchup.
So as bad as the Reds 'pen has been at times, they have the higher-leverage arms and the better higher-leverage arms right now.
I think that the Reds are more than live at +165. It's pretty much an absurd number; I would take this down to +140, but it will probably never get down to that point.