The brooms are on standby at Kauffman Stadium heading into the August 19th Astros at Royals matchup. Despite being in the throes of a playoff race, Houston has dropped all three games against KC this week and four in a row overall. Thanks to a 4-game losing streak by the A’s, the Astros haven’t dropped any ground in the division.
A sweep seems highly unlikely for the Royals, who have won in this series as +139, +155, and +165 underdogs. The Astros are -173 favorites on Thursday afternoon despite the losing streak, with KC going off at +144. Over 75% of public bettors like the Astros in this spot.
Astros Offense Fizzling
Kansas City has the 4th worst team ERA in the majors, but the Astros have only managed three total runs in the last two games. Houston has been held to 2 runs or less in three of four during their current losing streak, so can they snap out of that funk in the August 19th Astros at Royals contest?
The Astros have fallen 3-2 and 3-1 the last two games, wasting solid pitching performances by Zack Greinke and Framber Valdez in the process. Does that same fate await Luis Garcia (9-6, 3.30 ERA) on Thursday? Garcia has only allowed 2 ER over his last two starts, but those have come as -200 or better favorites against the Twins and Angels. Garcia allowed 10 ER in two starts prior vs. San Francisco and Seattle.
Can the Houston offense get going in getaway day? The Astros head back to Minute Maid Park for a 6-game home stand after this contest, trying to put what is so far a 2-4 road trip behind them. The Astros should be optimistic, as they hit .323 (32-99) collectively vs. KC starter Mike Minor, with Jose Altuve posting a .417 average vs. the lefty.
Can KC Complete the Sweep?
The Royals have two series sweeps over Detroit this season, but taking a 4-gamer from Houston would be huge for momentum closing out the season. The Astros had won 11 of 13 previous meetings prior to this week’s series.
Hunter Dozier did the damage on Wednesday night, blasting a 2-run HR in the bottom of the 7th to give the Royals the lead. Nicky Lopez was also 3 for 4, helping Kansas City get the win despite being outhit 10-8. KC belted out 9 hits in Tuesday’s win, getting a baserunner on in every inning against Houston starter Framber Valdez. No Astros batter has ever faced Thursday’s starter Garcia.
Mike Minor (8-11, 5.35) will try to continue the run of strong pitching performances for the Royals. Rookie Daniel Lynch threw 7.0 innings of 1 ER ball on Tuesday and Brady Singer pitched into the 7th allowing just 2 ER in Wednesday’s win. Minor has given up 11 ER including 6 HR over his last three starts though.
August 19th Astros at Royals Pick
Houston has to rally back for a win here don’t they? That’s a huge price to pay for a team on a 4-game losing streak and in getaway day as they had back home. That being said, this team hits Minor extremely well and KC has to be happy ‘settling’ for taking 3 of 4 here.
Astros 5 – Royals 2
Free Pick: Astros -1.5 (-110)