The Houston Astros had a streak this month during which they scored at least four runs in 16 consecutive games. But that lineup will be put to the test on Friday against the San Diego Padres, who own the majors’ best team ERA.
The Astros will look to Framber Valdez, who last season was 5-3, allowing just 0.6 home runs per nine innings with a 4.75 strikeout-to-walk rate. This will be his 2021 debut.
Padres starter Dinelson Lamet has yet to pitch more than three innings across his five appearances this season, but has been effective with a 1.64 ERA and no home runs allowed after finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young voting in 2020. The Padres have used their bullpen for more innings than any other team in the NL but have MLB’s best bullpen ERA, while the Astros rank 20th.
With Valdez having pitched seven innings across two rehab stints, the Astros will have to rely upon their bullpen more than they usually do in his starts. And with the Padres ranking second in the NL in runs per game scored on the road with just over five, the Padres should improve upon their league-best win percentage.
The play: Padres, -105.