It’s the continuation of a weekend series between a pair of AL West rivals down in the Lone Star State. The Los Angeles Angels play the middle game of a three game series with the Houston Astros Saturday night. Los Angeles dropped the rubber game of their three game series on the road to Oakland, getting routed 21-3 Thursday afternoon. Houston lost the rubber game of their three game set to Seattle at home, falling 9-0 Wednesday. The pitching matchup for Friday’s series opener saw Andrew Heaney get the call against the Angels. He was scheduled to face the Astros’ Gerrit Cole with first pitch set for 7:10 pm ET.
Los Angeles Angels Hoping to Close Season Strong
Los Angeles dropped two of three in Oakland as they were pasted in the finale of their series. The Angels dropped to 75-78 on the season and trailed the Astros by 20.5 games in the AL West race entering Friday. Los Angeles finished with five hits in the game with Jose Fernandez (RBI) the lone player with two in the contest. Mike Trout (his 36th) and Francisco Arcia (his sixth) each hit solo homers in the loss for the Angels. Matt Shoemaker (2-2) took the loss on the mound as he couldn’t make it out of the third inning. He allowed five runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts over 2.2 innings.
Jaime Barria gets the ball for the 25th start of his rookie season for the Angels in this one. He comes in 10-9 with a 3.61 ERA, a 1.262 WHIP, 38 walks and 91 strikeouts over 119.2 innings of work this season. Barria recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came Sunday at home against the Mariners,. He threw five innings, allowing three runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts in an eventual 4-3 Angels win. Barria is 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP, eight walks and 10 strikeouts over 13 innings in his last three starts. He marks his fourth career start against the Astros in this contest. In those outings, he is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA, a 0.938 WHIP, three walks and 12 strikeouts over 16 innings of work. Barria earned the win in his lone start at Minute Maid Park back on August 31. In that contest, he threw six scoreless innings, allowing three hits with one walk and four strikeouts in a 3-0 Angels win. He had no record with a 3.50 ERA, a 1.389 WHIP, five walks and 19 strikeouts over 18 innings in five starts for Triple-A Salt Lake City of the Pacific Coast League.
Houston Astros Trying to Lock Down AL West Title
Houston had Thursday off as they looked to recover from dropping two of three to the Mariners at home. The Astros fell to 95-57 on the season and entered Friday 3.5 games ahead of the A’s in the AL West race. Houston finished with five hits in the game with Yuli Guerriel the only player with two in the loss. The Astros were zero for three with runners in scoring position and bounced into a pair of double plays. Dallas Keuchel (11-11) was handed the loss in part due to his struggles and helped by lack of offensive production. He allowed five runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts over five innings.
Justin Verlander is on the mound to make his 33rd start of the season for the Astros in this one. He comes in 16-9 with a 2.67 ERA, a 0.931 WHIP, 36 walks and 269 strikeouts while allowing 28 home runs over 195 innings of work. Verlander picked up the win in his last start, which came at home against Arizona Sunday afternoon. He threw seven innings, allowing one run on three hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts in a 5-4 Houston victory. Verlander is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA, a 0.76 WHIP, four walks and 29 strikeouts over 21 innings in his last three starts. He faces the Angels for the 25th time in this career here. In those outings, he is 12-9 with a 3.12 ERA, a 1.045 WHIP, 49 walks and 157 strikeouts over 164.2 innings. Verlander is 8-7 with a 2.94 ERA, 0.936 WHIP, 32 walks and 217 strikeouts over 162.1 innings in 26 career starts at Minute Maid Park.
- Astros are 5-0 in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a losing record
- Astros are 4-0 in their last 4 Saturday games
- Astros are 20-7 in their last 27 overall
- Angels are 2-5 in their last 7 overall
- Angels are 2-5 in their last 7 Saturday games
- Angels are 2-5 in their last 7 games on grass
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Verlander is back on track as he has won his last three starts, shutting down the opposition in check and fanning 29 hitters in 21 innings of work. Barria has been relatively solid as a rookie this season and has been one of the better arms on the Angels’ staff. Los Angeles doesn’t have a ton of capable bats to work with after injuries thinned out the talent pool. Verlander and the Astros should come up with the victory in this contest to improve their chances at locking up the AL West crown.
Prediction: Houston Astros -280
Full-Game Total Pick
Houston still has Oakland chasing them in the AL West race and they’ll need to pick up some wins in order to lock down the division crown. The Astros have a terrific starting rotation that few teams in the majors can match at this point in time. Los Angeles had high hopes that didn’t last very long thanks to injuries gutting their pitching staff. Throw in injuries to some of their key hitters and it’s impressive that the team is within three games of the .500 mark at this point.
The under is 6-0 in the Angels’ last 6 games vs. a starter with a WHIP less than 1.15 and 5-2 in their last 7 during game 2 of a series. Houston has seen the under go 5-1-1 in their last 7 during game 2 of a series, 6-2 in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a losing road record and 7-3-1 in their last 11 vs. a team with a losing record. The teams have stayed under the total in six of Verlander’s last seven starts against the Angels. The under is also 4-1 in the last five meetings in Houston and 4-1 in the last five meetings overall. This one has the makings of a solid Verlander start, which helps keep things under the total.
Prediction: Under 7.5
Full-Game Prop Bet
Houston is fifth in the majors in runs scored entering Saturday with a total of 760. That includes an 11-3 win on Friday night that clinched a playoff spot for the Astros: they still lead the AL West by 3.5 games over Oakland with just over a week to go in the regular season. Houston has gone 11-6 against the Angels this season, scoring 79 runs in the process. That means if they have an average scoring game against Los Angeles here, they’ll go over the total. Look for that to be the case.
Prediction: Houston Astros Over 4.5 -125
First Five Innings Side Pick
Barria has pitched well down the stretch for the Angels but the fact remains that his team is under .500 and seriously banged up. Verlander has won his last three starts for Houston, posting a sub-two ERA in that span and he continues to strike out hitters at a high rate. The Angels are battling as they try to finish at the .500 mark on the year but having to face an Astros team looking to lock down the division title isn’t the greatest way to go about that. Houston should have the advantage after five innings thanks to the depth and power in their lineup.
Prediction: Houston Astros -280
First Five Innings Total Bet
Houston matched the number for five innings in this game in the opening inning last night. The Astros chased Andrew Heaney after just three innings, hanging six runs on him en route to the easy win. Barria threw six shutout frames in his lone start here last month but it’s hard to predict him pulling something like that off again here. Houston has plenty of bats that can do damage and on the other side, Verlander has been prone to the long ball this season. Look for this one to be just over the number after five innings.
Prediction: Over 4 -120
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Both pitchers have given up their fair share of long balls in the opening three innings of their starts this season. Twelve of the 17 homers Barria has given up have come in the opening three innings while Verlander has allowed 14 of his 28 in the first three frames. Barria’s lowest ERA in the first four innings is a 3.13 mark in the third. If you want to score on Verlander, the first couple innings seem to be the ticket: he has a 3.94 ERA in the first and a 3.09 mark in the second. In innings three through five, that number drops from 1.74 to 1.16 to 0.87 on the year. The Astros should find a way to get on the board first, especially with Barria sporting a 4.50 ERA with five homers allowed in the first inning.
Prediction: Houston Astros to Score First -140