It’s the continuation of a weekend series between a pair of AL West rivals in the Lone Star State. The Oakland A’s are on the road as they play the third game of a four-game set with the Houston Astros Saturday afternoon. In the opening game of the series Thursday night, it was the Astros earning a 6-2 victory in their home opener to draw first blood. The pitching matchup for the second game of the set Friday night saw Sean Manaea take the mound for the A’s against the Astros’ Lance McCullers Jr. First pitch in that contest from Minute Maid Park was scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.
Oakland A’s Looking to Get on TrackOakland has sputtered out of the gates and dropped to 0-5 on the season against the Astros as they were dumped on the road Thursday night. The A’s entered Friday in the basement of the AL West standings, 5.5 games behind Houston for the top spot in the division. On Thursday night, the A’s finished with six hits with no player having more than one. Oakland was blanked until the ninth inning with Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty driving in the runs for the team in defeat. Cole Irvin (0-2) was saddled with the loss as he allowed four runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work.
Our human highlight reel does it yet again 🙌 pic.twitter.com/2yZCJc0Ew1— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 9, 2021
Frankie Montas is in line for his second start of the season for the A’s in this contest. He comes in 0-1 with a 23.63 ERA, a 3.75 WHIP, three walks and four strikeouts on the season. Montas took the loss in his season debut, which came Monday at home against the Dodgers. He allowed seven runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts over 2.2 innings in a game the A’s dropped by a 10-3 score. Montas makes his 10th career appearance and eighth start against the Astros in this contest. He is 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA, a 1.45 WHIP, 15 walks and 30 strikeouts over 40 innings of work against them in his career. Montas is 1-2 with a 5.87 ERA, a 1.696 WHIP, eight walks and 13 strikeouts over 15.1 innings in four career appearances, three starts, at Minute Maid Park.
Houston Astros Try to Stay HotHouston has been out of the gates this season as they earned their second straight win Thursday night. The Astros went into Friday’s game with a one-game edge over the Angels in the AL West picture. Houston got two hits each from Yordan Alvarez (two runs, RBI) and Carlos Correa (two runs, two RBI) in the contest. Correa (his second), Alvarez (his second) and Jose Altuve (his first) each homered in the victory. The power surge was enough to carry Cristian Javier (1-0) to a victory on the mound. He threw five scoreless innings, allowing three hits with two walks and seven strikeouts before handing things off to the bullpen.
Jose Urquidy is expected to get the start on the mound as he logs his second start of the year for the Astros here. He has no record, a 4.15 ERA, a 1.385 WHIP, two walks and five strikeouts on the season. Urquidy didn’t factor in the decision in his season debut, which came on the road against the A’s Sunday. He threw 4.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts in a game that the Astros went on to win 9-2. Urquidy makes his fourth career start against the A’s in this contest. He is 0-1 with a 2.93 ERA, a 0.848 WHIP, six walks and 16 strikeouts over 15.1 innings of work against them. Urquidy is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA, a 0.874 WHIP, four walks and 36 strikeouts over 34.1 innings in seven career appearances, five starts, at Minute Maid Park.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Athletics are 1-8 in their last 9 overall
- Athletics are 1-8 in their last 9 on grass
- Athletics are 0-6 in their last 6 vs. American League West teams
- Astros are 4-0 in their last 4 games vs. a team with a winning % below .400
- Astros are 7-1 in their last 8 vs. American League West teams
- Astros are 6-1 in their last 7 overall
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a matchup of a pair of teams that are off to drastically different starts to the season. Oakland is a dismal 1-7 as their pitching staff has really struggled, putting pressure on a lineup that isn’t the same as it’s been in years past. Houston is off to a strong 6-1 start and they’ve clobbered the A’s in each of their five meetings this season, outscoring them by a combined 41-11 in those games. That’s a pretty hefty drubbing no matter how you break it down. Until we see the A’s come up with something resembling what we’re used to from their lineup and their staff, you have to fade them a bit at this stage. Give the Astros the advantage here.
Full-Game Total Pick
Oakland has seen the over hit in five of their eight games this season but that’s mainly been on the backs of the opposition. The A’s are last in the majors with an average of 2.38 runs per game this season. Meanwhile, Oakland is last in the majors by allowing an average of 7.38 runs per game and their staff is last with a 7.12 team ERA. That gives them an average of 9.76 runs per game. Houston entered Friday seeing the over hit in five of their seven games on the year. The Astros are second in the majors with 7.29 runs per game and fourth by allowing 2.86 runs per game, giving them a total of 10.15 runs per contest. Seeing how things have gone with these two teams in the early going, plus the friendly dimensions of Minute Maid Park, look for this one to end up over the total.