The Houston Astros are one of the best teams in the league, but you would not know it by looking at their 26-21 record. Currently they are in second place in the AL West, but eventually they should be leading the division.
The Astros have a +59 run differential which is the fourth best in the league. On average Houston wins each game by 1.26 runs. Their lineup averages 5.28 runs per game which is the best in the league.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Houston Astros
Tuesday, May 25, 2021 – 8:10 PM EDT at Minute Maid Park
● Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw (6-3, 3.18 ERA)
● Astros: Zach Greinke (4-1, 3.77 ERA)
Stakes of the Matchup
Last year the Astros were a game away from winning the American League pennant despite finishing the regular season with a winning record. Even without the cheating, the Astros are still one of the best teams in the league. As the saying goes, you should not judge a book by its cover.
Opposing the Houston Astros are the Los Angeles Dodgers who are in second place in the NL West. The Dodgers like the Astros are the best team in their division even though they do not have the best record.
The Dodgers have a +72 run differential which is the 2nd best in the league. On average, Los Angeles wins each game by 1.53 runs. Additionally, LA’s lineup averages 5.17 runs per game which is the most in the National League and third most in the league. With a designated hitter against the Astros, they have an even more dangerous lineup than usual on Tuesday night.
Both teams are relying on their best starting pitchers on Tuesday night. For the Astros, one of their weaknesses is usually in starting pitching. However, for Tuesday they have the benefit of relying on Zach Greinke.
In Greinke’s 18th season, he is still an elite pitcher as he has a 4-1 record with a 3.77 ERA, and a 3.89 xFIP. He is certainly not the best pitcher in the league, but he is a reliable arm on a strong offensive team with weak pitching. What is most impressive about Greinke is that he is averaging nearly six innings per start which keeps Houston’s vulnerable bullpen out of the game.
Opposing Greinke is Clayton Kershaw for the LA Dodgers. Kershaw is so good that his 3.18 ERA this season is the highest since his rookie year in 2008. As one of the most reliable starting pitchers in baseball, typically bettors must pay a heavy price to bet on the Astros whenever he pitches. Currently, the Dodgers are only narrow favorites because they are playing against a strong lineup on the road.
However, this season Kershaw has put together strong performances against tough lineups. Against Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani’s LA Angels, Kershaw pitched five scoreless innings. In two starts against the San Diego Padres, Kershaw pitched for 13 innings and allowed only three earned runs. Even against a strong Astros lineup, Kershaw should still be fine.
Even on the road at Houston, the LA Dodgers should be favored. They have an edge in starting pitching with Clayton Kershaw and a strong lineup to back him up. The Houston Astros are one of the better teams in the league, but the Dodgers are one of the few teams that are better than them.
Houston’s strength is with their lineup and unfortunately for them, they are up against Kershaw for the first six innings of the game. Additionally, Greinke while a strong pitcher is still vulnerable to a Dodgers lineup featuring many dangerous weapons. That is why I like the Dodgers are -122 money line underdogs on Tuesday night.
MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers Moneyline at -120 with BetMGM