One of the marquee series around the majors this week is a matchup of potential division winners (currently second-place teams) as the Boston Red Sox visit the Houston Astros. For Game 2 on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park, it's Luis Garcia on the mound for the Astros and Garrett Richards for the Red Sox. Richards' job will get a bit tougher as Houston is expecting back both first baseman Yuli Gurriel and designated hitter Yordan Alvarez from multiple-game injuries. The Astros are -153 favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook MLB odds.
Gurriel left Saturday's game due to left middle finger inflammation but manager Dusty Baker says he should be in there. The 36-year-old is off to a fine start this season, batting .309 with seven homers and team-leading 38 RBIs in 48 games. Alvarez hasn't played since last Wednesday with a wrist injury. The former AL Rookie of the Year is batting a team-best .310 with seven homers and 26 RBIs in 40 games.
Houston had been around a -130 favorite, but the return of those Cuban sluggers has jumped the moneyline up to -153 and climbing. Alvarez has the shortest odds of any player in this game to homer at +210 on that prop at William Hill, while Gurriel is +500.
Boston's Richards (4-3, 3.83) allowed eight earned runs in his first three innings this season but just 15 earned in 51 innings since (2.65 ERA). Richards hasn't given up a homer in his past 100 batters faced. He was a long-time member of the Angels and has faced Houston plenty, going 5-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 80.1 innings and 3-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 32.1 innings in Houston. Gurriel is 2-for-7 career off him, while Alvarez hasn't faced Richards in a regular-season game.
The Astros' Garcia (3-3, 2.93) is in the AL Rookie of the Year conversation. He did pitch in five games last year but just 12.1 innings so kept his rookie status. Batters are hitting just .183 off him in 2021 and Garcia has allowed three runs or fewer in all nine of his career starts. This will be his first career look vs. Boston.
Houston won the opener Monday 11-2 to improve to 19-13 against teams with .500-or-better records this year. Only Milwaukee (17-11) has a better winning percentage against those opponents.
The Astros lead MLB in runs scored (284), batting average (.267) and in hits (489). The Red Sox lead the majors in doubles (119), extra-base hits (192), slugging (.446) and OPS (.765) and rank second in the AL in average (.259) and third in runs (269). Yet the Over/Under is just 8.5 runs Tuesday.
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