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Houston Astros vs. Cleveland Guardians August 4 Betting Preview
The Cleveland Guardians (54-50) will face a big test starting on Thursday as they welcome in the Houston Astros (68-38) for a four-game series. Thursday’s game will be played at Progressive Field with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm ET.
Houston struggled in their last series, dropping two of three to the Red Sox, but they did manage to salvage the finale Wednesday 6-1. In the win, Jose Urquidy threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 10.
Offensively, deadline acquisition Trey Mancini hit his first home run in an Astros uniform while Jose Altuve went four for four. In total, the Astros hammered out 12 hits.
Cleveland had a little more success in their last series taking two of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks. On Wednesday, the Guardians won 7-4 behind a solid outing from Shane Bieber. He went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out eight.
Amed Rosario and Oscar Gonzalez both had big games. Combined, they went four for eight with two home runs, five runs batted in, and three runs scored.
Astros vs. Guardians August 4 Odds
The Astros are the favorites Thursday despite playing on the road. They are -198 to win while the Guardians’ moneyline sits at +166. The runline features Cleveland +1.5 (-108), and the over/under for total runs is 7.5.
The Astros will send future Hall-of-Famer Justin Verlander to the mound for the opener. In 19 games this season, the righty is 14-3 with a 1.81 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and he has 122 strikeouts in 124 innings. He currently is the favorite to win the AL Cy Young at +155.
Cleveland will counter with righty Zach Plesac. In 19 games, Plesac is just 2-9 with a 4.33 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and has struck out 79 in 104 innings. Plesac has lost back-to-back games, giving up eight runs in his last 10 innings on the mound.
Astros Look To Keep Rolling On The Road Behind Their Ace
At 68-38, the Astros lead the AL West by 11 games and have the second-best record in the American League. Currently 34-21, they will look to keep rolling behind ace Justin Verlander. In his career, he has 21 wins against the Guardians.
Offensively, the team bolstered their roster at the trade deadline adding first baseman Trey Mancini (.267 avg, 11 HR, 43 RBI) and catcher Christian Vazquez (.278, 8 HR, 42 RBI). As a whole, the Astros rank 15th in scoring (4.42 runs per game), but they have the second-lowest team ERA in baseball (3.03).
Houston’s best hitter this season has been Yordan Alvarez. In 310 at bats, he is hitting .303/.409/.655 with 30 home runs, 72 runs batted in, and 67 runs scored. He leads the team in all three of those categories.
Cleveland Looks To Home Field Advantage To Take Down Houston
While the Astros have been solid on the road, the Guardians have been great at home, going 27-20 at Progressive Field thus far. Having won six of their last 10, they will look to their home field advantage to take down Houston in the first game.
Despite his lengthy career, only one Guardians’ hitter has faced off with Verlander. Third baseman Jose Ramirez has faced Verlander 30 times, hitting .367 with two home runs and five runs batted in.
Over the last couple weeks, Andres Gimenez has been Cleveland’s best hitter. In 49 at bats over that span, he is hitting .327/.421/.551 with two home runs, seven runs batted in, eight runs scored and four stolen bases.
Cleveland Needs Plesac To Step Up
Anytime you have to face someone of the caliber of a Justin Verlander, your main hope is that your pitcher can go toe-to-toe with them so that the offense only has to scratch across a run or two.
That could be a tall task as Zach Plesac has struggled this season, but if he can find a way to quiet the Astros’ bats, which come into this game having scored three or less in three of their last four games, Cleveland could have a good chance.
If the offense struggles, it could be a tough series for Cleveland as all four of the Astros’ starters this series have an ERA of 3.81 or less.
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