Houston Astros (26-17 SU, 22-21 RL, 14-27-2 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Angels (25-16 SU, 22-19 RL, 21-20 O/U)
MLB: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 9:40 EST
The Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros will conclude a three-game series when they meet again at Angel Stadium on Wednesday night. Los Angeles took the opener on Monday for its second straight win on the heels of a brief two-game skid. The Astros are still 5-2 in their last seven contests despite the recent setback.
Verlander on a roll
Houston second baseman Jose Altuve had a single in the opener, but that was his lone hit in 17 at-bats over the past four games. Altuve’s batting average is currently .305, which is stellar by most players’ standards but nothing to write home about for the reigning American League MVP. A couple of regulars are struggling, which is part of the reason why the high-powered Astros are a modest 13th in the majors in slugging percentage.
Right-hander Justin Verlander (4-2, 1.21 ERA) is taking the mound for Houston on Wednesday. Verlander helped the Astros win the 2017 World Series after arriving in the middle of the season and he has not looked back in 2018. The 35-year-old has been awesome–even better than his 4-2 record suggests. Eight of Verlander’s nine starts have been quality, including seven in a row, and he has struck out 77 batters in 59.2 innings of work. He most recently faced Texas last Friday, going 6.0 innings and allowing just one run on three hits and two walks while mowing down seven hitters in a 1-0 loss by Houston.
Bats need a wakeup call
L.A.’s Justin Upton delivered the tie-breaking single in the sixth inning in Monday’s opener as the Angels posted a 2-1 victory over Houston to move into a virtual tie for first place with the Astros in the American League West. Albert Pujols was hitless in three at-bats in the opener and is mired in a nine-game homer-less drought. Right fielder Kole Calhoun was hitless in three at-bats on Monday and is 2-for-22 over his last seven appearances.
Garrett Richards (4-1, 4.08 ERA) will oppose Verlander on Wednesday. The right-hander’s ERA would be well under 4.00 if not for one especially poor outing this season (five earned runs allowed in just 1.2 innings in an 11-1 loss to the Yankees on April 28). Richards has otherwise been solid, with four appearances in which he has logged at least 5.0 innings of work while surrendering no more than two runs. The 29-year-old most recently faced Minnesota last Thursday, when he went 5.1 innings and gave up three runs on five hits and no walks while striking out four batters in a 7-4 victory for the Angels.
The Houston Astros are:
- 12-2 Under in their last 14 overall
- 6-1-1 Under in their last eight road games
- 6-0 Under in their last six games against the American League West
The Los Angeles Angels are:
- 5-2 Under in their last seven overall
- 4-1 Under in their last five games against teams with winning percentages over .600
- 5-1 Under in their last six games against starters with WHIPs under 1.15
Over the past three seasons, Verlander is 4-2 with 2.00 ERA in 45.0 innings of work against the Angels. Based on his current form, there is no reason to think Los Angeles will suddenly find its way against the right-hander. The under is 12-2 in the Astros’ last 14 overall, 6-1-1 in their last eight on the road, 6-0 in their last six against the American League West, 4-0 in Verlander’s last four starts, 4-1 in his last five road starts, and 4-0 in his last four starts against the American League West. It is also 5-2 in the Angels’ last seven overall, 4-1 in their last five against opponents with winning percentages over .600, and 5-1 in their last six against starters with WHIPs under 1.15. Additionally, the under is 7-1 in Richards’ last eight starts against Houston, 4-0 in his last four home starts against Houston, and 6-2 in the last eight meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to stay under the total.