June 25th 2014 - Posted at 11:00 AM ET
There are 2 picks today.
#1: Take the UNDER 2.5 Total Goals (+114) in Argentina vs. Nigeria risking 2%
#2: Take Atlanta Braves (-130) on the Money Line against Houston Astros risking 2%
(Wood and McHugh must start)
The Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros will gear up for Game two of their 3-game set at Minute Maid Park tonight. The Astros are back to their losing ways. Houston has lost 8 of their last 10 games and have completely wiped away the progress they had made a few weeks ago when they went on an impressive winning streak. The Astros are back to their old ways of giving up runs in bulk as they have allowed four or more in 8 of their last 11 games! This has been a problem for them all season and they’ve lost 14 of their last 19 games when allowing more than 3 runs.
Collin McHugh will take the mound for Houston tonight. McHugh made his 11th start of the season last Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays and ended up picking up his fifth loss of the year. He pitched six innings in that game and allowed two unearned runs on four hits while striking out six and walking three. McHugh has struggled when pitching at home this season as his ERA inflates to a 4.18 in 5 home starts! The main culprit has been an issue with control as he has walked an above average amount of batters in his starts. Over his last 3 starts, he has walked 11 batters! Atlanta is a team that thrives on hitting home runs with men on base and if McHugh continues to give batters a "free pass" on base, it will be costly.
The Braves are a quality ball club but have been somewhat struggling as of late after giving up the divisional lead to the Washington Nationals. Fredi Gonazalez' team has managed to win 3 of their last 5 games however and may have hit the turning point in their season. The Braves main problem has been their pitching recently, something that has stellar all season long but is currently in the middle of a rough stretch. Overall, the Braves still have the sixth best ERA in baseball at 3.36 (they were ranked 1st in the league a month ago) and we expect their pitching staff to start to tighten itself up and believe it could start with Wood tonight.
Alex Wood will get the start for the Braves. He last made a start back on May 4th and has since been coming out of the bullpen for them but showed his potential last season and will want to take this chance. In his last start, he went five innings against the San Francisco Giants and ended up losing despite only giving up two runs in five innings of work. Wood has pitched well this season both in his starts and out of the bullpen however he has only received 1.89 runs per nine innings from his offense! We expect that to change tonight against aHouston pitching staff has been extremely "hittable" during their recent stretch. Wood has an impressive 63 strikeouts in just 60 innings pitched this season!
Offensively, the Braves thrive on getting players on base and hitting the long ball. This matchup is something that plays into their strengths. Andrelton Simmons has has 10 hits in his last 10 games and is a fantastic player. He is 1-for-1 against McHugh with a triple and an RBI.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Braves are 8-2 in the last 10 meetings in Houston.
- Astros are 14-38 in their last 52 games vs. a left-handed starter
- Astros are 21-46 in their last 67 games as a home underdog.
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