After surprising the world in 2015, the Houston Astros failed to take the next step in 2016, falling back a few games in the standings and failing to get another postseason bid.
The Astros are still an organization filled with good, young talent and have added a number of veterans to help avoid an early season swoon that plagued this team last year. The hope is that’ll be enough get this team over the hump in 2017. This 2017 edition of the team should be improved, but can the pitching hold up enough to get allow them to overcome the Rangers and Mariners?
2016 Record: 84-78
2016 Moneyline Record: -9.35 Units
2016 Over/Under Total Record: 73-81-8
Current World Series Odds: +1400
Current Odds To Win AL: +655
Current Odds To Win AL West: +107
Regular Season Win Total: 91.5
Offensively, the Astros are a stacked team. They have the game’s best double-play combo up the middle with Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Then adding in third baseman Alex Bregman and few teams can even come close to the level of talent on this infield.
Bregman got his first taste of the big leagues last year and could have a bit of an adjustment period this year like Correa had a year ago. But the expectation is for a big season for him as well as Correa to go along with the MVP candidate: Altuve.
First base will be filled by Yulieski Gurriel after it was a big of a hole last year with Marwin Gonzalez getting a bulk of starts there. Gonzalez is better served as a super-sub and that’s the role he’ll be in this year, giving the team quality depth at a number of positions across the infield.
Gurriel himself is a bit of a question mark, but he was a star player in Cuba and looked good in his brief stint with the big club last year.
In the outfield, the team is moving George Springer from right to center. He’s certainly athletic enough to take on the more difficult position and his bat can play anywhere. The youngster brings both speed and pop to the top of the order, allowing Altuve to hit more in the middle.
The additions of Josh Reddick and Nori Aoki in the corners help to flank Springer with veteran talent. Aoki’s defense is suspect, but he should be fine in the short left-field at Minute Maid Park. Reddick, meanwhile, is a gold-glove caliber defender in right. In addition, Carlos Beltran should see some time in the outfield as well while splitting the designated hitter role with Evan Gattis who will also catch some when Brian McCann takes a day off. All in all, there are a ton of moving parts given the offseason additions all of whom are good clubhouse guys in addition to being proven veterans with predictable track records.
The Astros also look to be stacked with depth in the bullpen. Ken Giles got off to a rough start to his Astros career last year, but he’s a flamethrower in the back end and should be a rock solid closer for this team, allowing Luke Gregerson, Will Harris, Tony Sipp and Chris Devenski to slide into set-up and middle inning roles.
Much like their competition in Seattle and Texas, the Astros’ biggest question going into the season is in the rotation.
Dallas Keuchel is just a year removed from being the AL Cy Young Award winner, but the 232 regular season innings in 2015 seemed to take their toll as Keuchel didn’t look right all of last year, pitching to a 9-12 record and 4.55 ERA. He’s the ace and he’ll need to be much better than that for Houston to be able to do much this year.
Prior to his poor 2016, Keuchel did have a couple good years in a row with back-to-back seasons of at least 200 innings and a sub-3 ERA so it’s not like 2015 was necessarily a fluke. If Keuchel gets back to 2015 form that solves a lot of problems, but it’s probably more likely to expect something between his 2015 and 2016 form.
Behind Kuechel, Lance McCullers figures to be the No. 2 guy. He’s a talented young kid and pitched to a 3.22 ERA—when healthy—in his age 22 season last year. Health remains the issue for this young kid who has all the talent in the world, but trouble staying on the field.
After McCullers, the rest is a collect of good, but not great, options. Collin McHugh is a stable middle-to-back of the rotation arm. He’s dependable, but not overly impressive. Mike Fiers is an okay back end arm, too, much in the undependable mold as newly acquired Charlie Morton.
Joe Musgrove and Francis Martes are potential difference makers when they get a chance to start. For now, they’re likely depth arms with Martes a potential trade piece to get a more experienced starter. Houston had been rumored to be interested in Jose Quintana from the White Sox, but will stay put for now. Fortunately, they do have the pieces to make a big trade at the deadline if starting pitching remains an issue at that point.
April 3-6: vs. Mariners
April 7-9: vs. Royals
April 10-12: at Mariners
April 14-16: at Athletics
April 17-20: vs. Angels
April 21-23: at Rays
April 25-27: at Indians
April 28-30: vs. Athletics
The competition goes three deep in the AL West and Houston will have two series in its first three against one of the other favorites in Seattle. With a number of early games against a team they’re expected to battle with down the stretch, it’s even more imperative for Houston to avoid the early season struggles that plagued this team last year. They got off to a very slow start and never were able to get back those lost games, missing the playoffs but just a few games.
After the opening series, the Astros have a nice collection of AL opponents with some contenders and non-contenders mixed in. The biggest take away from their April schedule, however, is the lack of off-days early. Typically teams have an off-day or two sprinkled in their first week. Houston will have two off-days in April, but the first one won’t come until after the 10th game of the season, forcing the Astros to take two full turns through the rotation before getting a breather.
View this years MLB game match-ups with the complete seasonal schedule for all MLB teams. Each year we will be updating the season schedule with the current information including final scores, so bookmark this page.
The 2017 Major League Baseball season is tentatively set to begin on April 2, 2017, and feature three games, including the 2016 World Series champions Chicago Cubs facing off against the St. Louis Cardinals, which will be ESPN's first Sunday Night Baseball game of the year.
The 88th MLB All-Star Game will be hosted by the Miami Marlins and will be played at Marlins Park on July 11, 2017. It will be televised nationally on Fox.
|Major League Baseball Schedules By Month|
|MLB Betting Schedule||April||May||June||July||August||September||October|
In the past, online baseball bettors have tried to place a bet on a baseball game, only to find out that the first pitch was a few minutes ago?
This is when those baseball bettors were informed by the online sportsbook clerk that there’s "No Action" once the game starts, and you’ll just have to pick a later game or wait until next day to get your baseball bets inn.
However, online sportsbooks have revolutionized the gambling world by adding live and in-play baseball betting to the menu of options available to bettors.
Live betting and in-play betting allows baseball bettors to make the same baseball bets that they’d be able to make before the game starts, with the added knowledge of seeing part of the game take place before they put their money down.
Are you ready to take control of the sports event and win more money?
The following scenario shows how you can get more out of the game by getting more into the game with In Game Sports Betting.
In recent years, many online sportsbooks have started to offer in-game, live betting.
That is, many sportsbooks now offer wagers on plays that are about to happen in a specific game that they are transmitting over the Internet.
Sports bettors still have the traditional sports betting action: sides, over/under totals, props and half-time bets, but a few new perks have recently been added to the mix as well. Continue
MLB Betting Specials: MLB Sportsbook Bonus
MLB Baseball Odds: Live MLB Odds
Sports Betting Help: How to bet on sports
Sportsbook Rules: The Sports Betting Rules
Sports Betting deposits: View MLB Baseball Deposit options