The Miami Marlins travel to Texas to face the Houston Astros tonight to begin a three game interleague series. The Marlins are coming off a sweep of the Nationals while the Astros are coming off a tough home series loss to the rival Seattle Mariners. The Marlins had a team meeting right before the Nationals series and they let out a lot of their grievances. The exact nature of this meeting is not known, but the Marlins have won three straight games since, and clearly it has fired up their team. I think the public is seriously overreacting to this series win though. The Marlins barely squeezed out one of the games for the win and they are much better at home. The Marlins are 10-16 on the season on the road and 10-18 against teams over .500. The Astros have still won seven of their last 10 games and they are still 15-8 at home this season.
Luis Garcia will get the start for the Astros, and he is coming off one of his best starts of his season. He pitched seven innings against the Royals while allowing just two runs, but he did get the loss though with no run support from the Astros batters. He should have success against the Marlins lineup that struggles against good off-speed pitches. Pablo Lopez has been very good this season going 4-2 with a 2.18 ERA. However, he has struggled a lot more in May and June. He has allowed at least three runs in four of his seven starts since May 1. He also has allowed multiple walks in five of his last seven starts.
There is also a massive mismatch in bullpens here. The Astros are ranked first in the league in bullpen ERA this season. On the other side, the Marlins are ranked 21st in bullpen ERA and they always seem to struggle at key moments in the game. In the past month, the Astros are ranked second in the league in bullpen ERA. However, in the past month, the Marlins are ranked third worst in the league in bullpen ERA. Both of these teams play very close, low scoring games so I wouldn’t be surprised to see it play out to a 3-2 or 4-2 game. However, in these close games, it is usually the bullpen that decides the game. I like the Astros at home here.