TOM STRYKER’S FREE BASEBALL SELECTION WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 17TH
#927 HOUSTON with Valdez (-148) over Chicago with Kopech at 8:10 PM EST
In a bad mood off back-to-back losses to the Pale Hose, the Astros will bounce back with a solid performance in this double revenge battle. Houston still holds an 11.0-game lead over Seattle in the AL West standings and manager Dusty Baker wants to make sure his squad keeps a double-digit advantage.
Sizzling southpaw Framber Valdez will take the mound for the visitors. In 2022, No. 59 has made 22 starts for the ‘Stros and been nicked for only 43 earned runs and 111 hits in 142.0 innings. Valdez fanned 128 and issued 49 free passes on his way to a sensational 11-4 mark with a proud 2.73 ERA. The road has been kind to Framber too. As a guest, Valdez has been clipped for just 21 earned runs and 56 hits in 85.2 frames. After the math, that adds up to a solid 7-2 record with a sweet 2.21 ERA.
Young right-hander Michael Kopech will counter for the home team. With 21 starts in the bank this season, No. 34 has been slapped for 37 earned runs and 73 hits in 104.2 innings of work. Kopech struck out 96 and walked 51 on his way to a weak 4-8 tally with a 3.18 ERA. Even though his numbers aren’t bad, Michael hasn’t enjoyed much success when pitching in the Windy City. At home, Kopech has been clocked for 18 earned runs and 29 hits in 57.2 frames. That shakes down to a stiff 1-4 mark with a 2.81 ERA.
Technically speaking, this is a lucrative spot for the guests. Houston has cashed 23 of its last 30 when facing a foe that holds a team won/loss percentage greater than .500, 20 of its last 27 in the third game of a series, and 90 of its last 133 when facing an opponent from the AL Central. On the other side of the yard, Chicago has slipped in 20 of its last 29 in this series.
The ChiSox are beatable in their own backyard (30-29), and they’ll have trouble in this matchup after winning the first two games of this series. Take Houston with Valdez. Thanks and best of luck, Tom.
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