Oakland A’s (53-68 SU, 62-59 RL, 66-51-4 O/U) vs. Houston Astros (74-47 SU, 63-58 RL, 63-50-8 O/U)
MLB: Friday, August 18, 2017, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas, 8:10 pm ET
Lines: Houston -225, Oakland +207; Over/Under: 8.5
It’s the opener of a three game set between a pair of AL West rivals in the Lone Star State. The Oakland A’s play the first of three against the Houston Astros, who have the best record in the American League, Friday night. Oakland lost the rubber game of their three game home set with the Royals, falling 7-6 Wednesday afternoon. Houston split their four game, two city interleague set with the Diamondbacks, falling 4-0 at home Thursday. The Astros took two of three in the last series between the teams, which came June 27-29 here.
Oakland A’s Try to Deal Astros Blow
Oakland rallied on a couple of occasions Wednesday but couldn’t push across a run when they needed it in the ninth. The A’s took the loss and dropped the series. Rajai Davis (run), Marcus Semien (run, two RBI), Jed Lowrie (two RBI), Ryon Healy (run) and Matt Chapman (run, two RBI) each had two hits in the loss for Oakland. Paul Blackburn recorded a no-decision: he threw four innings, allowing four runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Blake Treinen (1-1) took the loss as he allowed a run on two hits with a strikeout in his one inning of work.
Sean Manaea takes the mound for the A’s as he makes his 23rd start of the year. He is 8-7 with a 4.59 ERA, a 1.37 WHIP, 42 walks and 112 strikeouts over 119.2 innings of work this season. Manaea took the loss as he was drilled in his last start, which was at home against the Orioles on Saturday. He allowed six runs on six hits with one walk and no strikeouts over one-third of an inning in a 12-5 Oakland defeat. Manaea is 0-2 with an abysmal 17.55 ERA, a 3.75 WHIP, four walks and two strikeouts over a paltry 6.2 innings in his last three starts. This is his eighth career start against the Astros in this contest: he is 1-2 with a 2.13 ERA and a 1.237 WHIP over 38 innings of work. Manaea is 1-1 with a 0.56 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over 16 innings in his three career starts at Minute Maid Park.
Houston Astros Looking to Stabilize After Rough Stretch
Houston split their four game interleague series with the Diamondbacks but was blanked in their two losses. The Astros have gone only 14-18 since the All Star break but they are fortunate to have run to a massive lead in the AL West. Houston finished with just four hits in the game Thursday with Jake Marisnick accounting for half of those. Yuli Guerriel (double) and George Springer each had a hit in the loss as well: the Astros were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Mike Fiers (7-8) took the loss as he gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work.
Dallas Keuchel makes his 16th start of the year for the Astros in this contest, looking to get back on track. He is 10-2 with a 2.87 ERA, a 1.124 WHIP with 29 walks and 83 strikeouts over 94.1 innings so far this year. Keuchel picked up the victory in his last start, which came on the road against the Rangers Sunday. That gave him his first win in his four starts since missing nearly two months with back and neck issues. He threw 6.2 innings, allowing one run on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in a 2-1 Astros win. Keuchel is 1-2 with a 6.89 ERA, a 1.98 WHIP, eight walks and 11 strikeouts over 15.2 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 17th appearance and 15th career start against the A’s in this contest. He is 4-3 with a 2.56 ERA and a 1.176 WHIP over 102 innings of work against them. Keuchel is 34-19 with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.132 WHIP over 76 appearances, 70 starts, totaling 485 innings at Minute Maid Park in his career.
- Athletics are 1-4 in their last 5 games vs. a left-handed starter
- Athletics are 1-4 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record
- Astros are 5-1 in their last 6 Friday games
Both starting pitchers have had their issues of late but Manaea hasn’t gone longer than 3.1 innings in any of his last three starts. He gave up six runs while only recording one out in his last start, which came against the Orioles. Baltimore has a good lineup but Houston’s is better even with their injury woes. Keuchel struggled in his first three starts off the DL but was good in his last one to pick up his 10th win. As inconsistent as Houston has been since the All Star break, you have to back them here against an A’s team with a lot of questions and few answers.
PIck: Houston Astros -225
It’s clear that the A’s are looking to continue their rebuilding project at this point in time. In order to have the kind of success they hope to have in the future, Oakland has to get production from their young guys, especially their young rotation arms. Blackburn has pitched well this season as a rookie and Manaea was sharp earlier in the season. The wheels have fallen off of late for him though and that’s a point of concern. Houston is cruising along just hoping to get healthy before the playoffs as they can’t expect to succeed if half their stars are on the disabled list.
The over is 4-1-1 in the Athletics last 6 games following an off day, 4-1 in their last 5 overall, 4-1 in their last 5 on grass, 20-6-1 in their last 27 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15, 4-0 in Manaea’s last 4 starts with 5 days of rest and 7-0 in Manaea’s last 7 starts overall. Houston has seen the over go 7-1 in their last 8 Friday games, 7-2 in their last 9 home games vs. a team with a road winning % of less than .400 and 4-0-1 in Keuchel’s last 5 starts following a quality start in his last appearance. Given the rough outings for both starters of late, this one seems to point toward the over.