Houston travels to Seattle for the first game of a 3 game weekend series. The Mariners have to be rolling their eyes as this will already be the third time this season they are facing Verlander. Verlander has thrown 2 gems already vs this Seattle offense, taking both the first 5 run line and full game run line in both games. Justin only allowed 2 earned runs in 14.2 innings vs this Seattle offense this season. This will also be Houston’s third time facing Chris Flexen, Houston took both the first half run line and full game run line in both of those games as well. I love this matchup for Houston, and look for them to have similar success tonight.
Let’s start with Justin Verlander. What an incredible comeback from Tommy John surgery last season. Now 39 years old, and we are seeing one of the best versions of Justin yet as he shows off the new Ulnar Collateral Ligament in his elbow. Justin is 6-1 so far this season with a league best 1.22 ERA. He has pitched 33 of his 51.2 innings on the road, and he has been legendary away from Houston with a .55 ERA (2 earned run in 33 innings). The Astros have won the first half run line in 4 straight starts from Verlander.
Chris Flexen was terrific last season. He was a first 5 bettors best friend last year, but has struggled to open this season. He is now 1-6 with a 4.98 ERA. He has been slightly worse at home with a 5.00 ERA. Current Houston batters have a combined .275 average and 8 extra base hits (3 home runs) in 91 at bats.
All in all, this bet is backing Verlander in his terrific season and a Houston offense averaging 4.58 runs per game in May. I like the Astros to win the first 5 innings.