After sweeping the Oakland Athletics, the Houston Astros will look to continue their strong start to the season when they travel to Milwaukee to take on the Brewers in a three-game series. Monday’s series opener features a stellar pitching matchup, as Houston is sending Cristian Javier (4-1, 3.25 ERA, 59 strikeouts) to the bump to face off against Brewers ace Corbin Burnes (4-3, 3.48 ERA).
The Astros check in at -115 on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Milwaukee is a slight -105 underdog. The total is set at 7.5.
Astros-Brewers picks: Monday, May 22
Out: SP Lance McCullers Jr. (right arm muscle strain), OF/DH Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery), SP Jose Urquidy (right shoulder inflammation)
Out: 1B Luke Voit (neck strigness), RP J.B. Bukauskas (cervical strain), RP Matt Bush (right shoulder), SP Wade Miley (anterior serratus), SP Brandon Woodruff (right shoulder inflammation)
Cristian Javier vs. Corbin Burnes
While Javier’s numbers aren’t as good as they were last season, the 26-year-old is still among baseball’s best in chase rate (92nd percentile) and whiff rate (79th percentile). His fastball hasn’t looked as good as years prior (.234 batting average against this season compared to .183 last season), but his curveball is even more dangerous (.154 batting average against with only two hits allowed). He’s coming off a start where he allowed one run in six innings against the Chicago Cubs.
The 2021 NL Cy Young winner, Burnes struggled at the start of the season but has started to figure it out in May, currently boasting a 3.48 ERA through 51 2/3 innings. Burnes’ strikeout rate has fallen off a cliff (21.6% after 30.5% last season) while his walk rate has gone up by more than 2% compared to last season. His undoing this season has been his sinker, as hitters are averaging .375 off the pitch.
While this is a strong pitching matchup, this total is too low to take the under. This over has hit in six of Burnes’ nine starts this year and in eight of Javier’s nine starts. While there’s a chance that these two righties will trade zeroes, there’s a greater chance that they’ll both get tagged for a couple runs.
Pick: Over 7.5
Give me the Astros in what will likely be a close game. They played a complete weekend of baseball against the Oakland Athletics, and that trend should carry over into tonight.