Houston Astros (77-49 SU, 66-60 RL, 63-55-8 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (65-62 SU, 62-65 RL, 51-67-9 O/U)
MLB: Friday, August 25, 2017, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California, 10:07 pm ET
Lines: Houston -114, Anaheim +104; Over/Under: 9
It’s the start of a weekend set between a pair of AL West rivals and potential playoff teams in the Golden State. The Houston Astros play the first of their three game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Friday night. Houston played the rubber game of their three game interleague set with the Nationals at home Thursday night: they took a 6-1 win Wednesday in the middle game of the set. Anaheim closed a four game home series with the Rangers trying for a split as they lost Wednesday’s game 7-5 in 10 innings. The Angels took two of three in the last series between the teams, which came June 9-11 at Minute Maid Park.
Houston Astros Look to Maintain Top Record in American League
Houston squared their series with the Nationals as they rolled to a win Wednesday night. The Astros held a four game lead over the Red Sox for the top record in the American League entering Thursday. Houston broke open a close game with four runs in the eighth inning. Alex Bregman (run, three RBI), Josh Reddick (RBI), Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Marisnick (two runs, RBI) each had two hits in the win. Marisnick (his 15th), Bregman (his 16th) and Max Stassi (his second) each homered in the game. Mike Fiers (8-8) picked up the win as he allowed one run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts over seven innings.
Collin McHugh takes the mound for his seventh start of the season for the Astros. He missed the first three months of the season with an elbow impingement: he is 1-2 with a 4.01 ERA, a 1.307 WHIP, 10 walks and 31 strikeouts over 33.2 innings of work. McHugh picked up the win in his last start, which came Saturday at home against the A’s. He threw six innings, allowing no runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts in a 3-0 Houston victory. McHugh is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA, a 1.53 WHIP, five walks and 14 strikeouts over 17 innings in his last three starts. He makes his 12th career start against the Angels in this contest: he is 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.109 WHIP over 70.2 innings of work. McHugh is 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.025 WHIP over 40 innings in six career starts at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Battling for Wild Card Spot
Anaheim missed a chance to make up ground in the wild card race as they were upended in extra innings Wednesday night. The Angels entered Thursday half a game behind the Twins for the second wild card spot in the American League. Luis Valbuena (run, four RBI) and Andrelton Simmons (two runs) each had two hits in the game for Anaheim. Andrew Heaney recorded a no-decision after allowing four runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts over five innings: he gave up three homers, upping his total to seven long balls in 10 innings this season. Eduardo Paredes (0-1) took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits with two walks and a strikeout over one inning of relief.
The Angels are expected to send Parker Bridwell to the hill for his 14th appearance and 13th start of the season. He is 7-1 with a 2.92 ERA, a 1.182 WHIP, 18 walks and 47 strikeouts over 77 innings of work. Bridwell picked up the victory in his last start, which came Sunday on the road against the Orioles. He went five innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts in an eventual 5-4 Angels victory. Bridwell is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, two walks and nine strikeouts over 18 innings in his last three starts. In his 16th major league appearance and 13th start, he faces the Rangers for the first time. Bridwell is 3-1 with a 3.73 ERA and a 1.317 WHIP over seven appearances, six starts, totaling 41 innings in his career at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
- Astros are 6-1 in their last 7 Friday games
- Astros are 7-2 in their last 9 road games vs. a team with a winning record
- Angels are 1-4 in their last 5 during game 1 of a series
The Angels are in the middle of a multi-team dogfight for the second wild card spot in the American League. Anaheim has to figure out their starting rotation in order to have success as there’s currently not a pitcher on the staff that they can reliably count on in a must win game. Houston is getting healthier and they still hold a cushion for the top record in the American League, which means home field advantage. Look for the Astros to take advantage of the Angels and win the opener of this series.
Pick: Houston Astros -114
Houston is battling for the top record in the American League with Boston and Cleveland. Meanwhile, Anaheim is in a crowded race with Minnesota, Texas, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Kansas City and Baltimore for the second wild card spot in the American League. The Astros are glad to have Carlos Correa going on a rehab assignment soon while Brian McCann was activated off the disabled list Thursday. Houston still looks to get their pitching staff back at full strength. The Angels are trying to piece together some semblance of a rotation that can strike fear in opposing lineups: the current group isn’t getting that done.
The under is 6-0 in the Astros’ last 6 on grass, 6-0 in their last 6 overall, 4-0 in their last four series openers, 7-0-1 in their last eight against AL West opponents, 5-1-1 in their last seven on the road and 6-2 in their last eight games against teams with a winning record. Anaheim has seen the under go 18-7-1 in their last 26 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 13-6-3 in their last 22 at home. Given the way Bridwell has pitched, coupled with injuries and McHugh’s solid start his last time out, look for this to stay under the total.