The Angels enter in third place in the American League West standings with a 9-8 overall record despite dropping three of their last four games, including their series-opener at Minute Paid Park on Thursday. Meanwhile, Houston is trying to fight its way out of the AL West cellar after going 8-10 through its first 18 games.
Can the Astros continue to trend towards the .500-mark with a win at home over the Halos on Saturday?
Canning rejoins rotation after earning first win out of bullpenAfter a strong start to the season, the Angels come into play on Friday having dropped five of their last seven games. Albert Pujols hit a two-run home run in the sixth innings to help Los Angeles avoid a shutout in an 8-2 loss against the Astros on Thursday.
Los Angeles is scheduled to hand the ball to right-hander Griffin Canning for his third start of the season. Canning operated out of the bullpen in his last outing, giving up two runs on two hits in 2 ⅓ innings of work against the Texas Rangers. He comes in with a 1-1 record to go along with a 5.68 ERA in three games (two starts) so far this season.
The Angels’ right-hander has simplified his offerings so far this season. After throwing his slider 29.2 percent of the time during his rookie season in 2019 and 20.4 percent a year ago, Canning has almost ditched the pitch entirely this year. Instead, he’s shown increased confidence in his curveball, which he’s throwing nearly 51.2 percent of the time, according to FanGraphs.
Canning has made three career starts against the Astros but has yet to factor into a decision. He has nearly as many walks (10) as strikeouts (11) in those outings but owns a 6.35 ERA in 11 ⅓ combined frames. According to Baseball Savant, current Astros are batting just .258 off of Canning heading into Saturday’s contest.
Odorizzi hoping to keep spot in starting rotationHouston is expected to counter with veteran right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who will be making his third start since joining the Astros’ rotation. In his previous trip to the mound, the 31-year-old was shelled for four earned runs in 4 ⅓ frames against the Seattle Mariners but recorded seven strikeouts in the loss. He comes in with an 0-2 overall record to go along with a 10.57 ERA and 1.70 WHIP so far this season.
While Odorizzi has logged only 7 ⅔ innings of work this season and owns an unsightly 10.57 ERA, there have been some positives on the mound for the Astros’ right-hander. He comes in striking out a healthy 12.91 batters per nine innings of work and his current xERA (4.36) and xFIP (3.87) suggest that he’s due for some positive regression soon. Odorizzi’s main problem this season has been the long ball. He’s given up three home runs in 7 ⅔ frames (3.52 HR/9) while stranding only 45.5 percent of his baserunners so far this season.
According to Baseball Savant, Odorizzi has held Angels hitters to a slim .226 batting average in 69 plate appearances against them heading into Saturday’s matchup.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Canning has struggled in his two starts this season and his career numbers against the Astros are worrisome as well. The Angels’ right-hander owns a 6.35 ERA and that number could be even worse given the number of baserunners that he’s given up during those outings. Look for the Astros to jump on him early and give Odorizzi a comfortable cushion to work with. Take Houston to come out on top at home in this AL West series showdown at Minute Maid Park on Saturday.
Full-Game Total Pick
A quick glance at the numbers for both of Saturday’s starters should give totals bettors a reason to smile here. Odorizzi has given up nine runs and 10 hits in just 7 ⅔ innings of work so far this season. Meanwhile, Canning has given up eight runs in 12 ⅔ combined frames and worked 2 ⅓ frames just four days ago. He’s had a hard enough time pitching against the Astros during his career, so asking him to pitch on short rest seems like a stretch. Take the over with confidence in this matchup on Saturday afternoon.