The Astros have recalled outfielder Jake Marisnick from Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday. He will take the place of right-handed ace Gerrit Cole, who was placed on the bereavement list. Cole is second in the American League in strikeouts with 169 K’s for the season, trailing only Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale. The Astros enter play on Tuesday evening with a three-game lead over the Seattle Mariners and a nine-game advantage over the Athletics in the division standings.
Bassitt makes sixth start of the season for Oakland
The Athletics are scheduled to hand the ball to right-hander Chris Bassitt, who will be making his sixth start of 2018. Bassitt has battled with his command as of late, issuing eight walks over his past two starts after handing out only one free pass in each of his first three outings. He’s allowed two earned runs or less in four of his first five outings, but comes in with a 1-3 overall record to go along with a 3.00 ERA in five trips to the mound this year. Bassitt is fresh off of an outing in which he allowed only two earned runs on seven hits against the Padres, but fell one out shot of being eligible for the victory. After starting the season 0-3, Oakland has won each of Bassitt’s last two starts.
Bassitt has made two appearances against the Astros in his career, both coming in 2015. He went 0-0 with a 1.64 ERA. He allowed four runs (two earned) in 11 innings of work. According to Baseball Savant, the current Astros lineup is batting just .154 with a .227 weighted on-base percentage in 13 plate appearances versus Bassitt, but also sport an expected slugging percentage of .760 heading into Wednesday’s matchup.
McCullers seeks to continue dominance vs. A’s
The Astros will counter with 24-year-old Lance McCullers Jr., who has gotten into a groove on the mound over his last seven starts, going 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA during that span. McCullers Jr. has posted quality outings in each of his last seven starts and has completed six innings or more in 13 of his last 15 starts overall. He is fresh off of a brilliant 12-strikeout performance against the Chicago White Sox in which he allowed just one earned run on three hits over seven frames to win his fourth consecutive decision. He comes in with a 10-3 overall record to go along with a 3.41 ERA in 18 starts this year.
The Astros right-hander has made three starts versus the Athletics in 2018, going 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in 19 combined inning of work. Things haven’t always been so easy for McCullers versus the A’s though. He posted a 10.38 ERA against them in 2017 and a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the AL West rivals in 2016. According to Baseball Savant, the current Athletics lineup is batting just .247 in 93 plate appearances.
- Athletics are 10-2 in their last 12 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Athletics are 17-4 in their last 21 overall.
- Astros are 1-4 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
McCullers has absolutely dominated the A’s so far this season, limiting them to a total of four earned runs in three starts this year. Houston has scored 39 runs over the past week, which ranks fifth in all of baseball during that span. They are slashing a healthy .278/.382/.452 as a team over their past seven games, which makes it tough to go against them in this spot, but I think there is some value on the A’s here. Bassitt has allowed two earned runs or less in four of his five outings this season and Oakland has been on fire as of late, winning 17 of their past 21 overall. Take your chances with the A’s and hope for McCullers to have an off-day against Oakland in this spot.
Pick: Oakland Athletics
These two teams have gone under the projected total just twice in their last 13 meetings. Even though McCullers have been dominant against the A’s so far this season, he’s had his fair share of struggles against them over the past couple of seasons, so I expect some regression here. That won’t be hard considering he enters this game with a 1.89 ERA in three starts versus Oakland this year. Bassitt doesn’t exactly have dominant stuff either, so look for this one to end up a high-scoring affair and take the over in this AL West showdown on Wednesday night.
- Over is 4-1 in Bassitts last 5 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
- Over is 5-2 in Bassitts last 7 starts vs. American League West.
- Over is 3-0-1 in Astros last 4 during game 3 of a series.
- Over is 7-0 in Astros last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.