Can Astros Continue Dominance in Oakland on Friday?

Thursday, August 16, 2018 4:31 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 4:31 PM UTC

Baseball’s best road team begins a long trip out west on Friday, and we have a free baseball pick for the series opener in Oakland between the A’s and Astros.

Houston (74-47 SU, 52-63 O/U) at Oakland (72-49 SU, 55-58 O/U)Friday, 10:05 p.m. ET (MLB Network)Free MLB Pick: Astros MLBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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One win doesn’t always mean a team is out of a slump, but Wednesday’s victory to close a short series against Colorado sure lifted the spirits of the Houston Astros in advance of a long road trip through the AL West Division that begins with a stop in Oakland on Friday against the A’s.

Coupled with Oakland dropping its Hump Day affair vs. the Seattle Mariners, Houston’s dubya gives the Astros a 2-game cushion over the Athletics at the top of the division. Friday’s series opener at The Coliseum pits a pair of veteran right-handers against one another, Charlie Morton (12-3, 2.88) slated for Houston opposite Oakland’s Edwin Jackson (4-2, 2.48).

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One for the fans in left, one for the fans in right. 🐻🐻

— Houston Astros (@astros) August 16, 2018

Jackson Holding Hitters To .159 Average In Oakland

Prior to routing the Rockies on Wednesday, Houston had dropped 5 straight and nine in a row at home dating to just before the midseason break. Evan Gattis clubbed two of the five home runs Astros hitters sent into the bleachers, his first long balls in August. Houston has dropped three of Morton’s last five starts, one of those to the Athletics on July 12 when he failed to make it through the fifth having surrendered three runs. This is Morton’s first start of 2018 in Oakland, and he lost his only assignment last season on the diamond (5 IP, 2 ER).

The Athletics locked in a pitchers’ duel with Seattle on Wednesday and came out on the short end of a 2-0 score that went 12 innings. They had won four in a row prior to the setback and have been the masters of the 1-run game this season with a 25-10 record in those affairs. Khris Davis has provided the bulk of the pop in the order all year, leading Oakland with 34 homers and 93 RBI. The A’s have won Jackson’s last four starts, the latest a 7-0 decision in Anaheim this past Saturday when 5Dimes closed Oakland +105. Friday is his first look at the Houston lineup since last August when he was in a Nationals uniform.

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

This series is a level 57-57 overall, all but six of those games coming since Houston joined the AL in 2013. The Astros have won nine of 13 this year, including all six in Oakland, where the ‘over’ has ruled baseball odds boards with nine of the last 11 going that way.

Mostly clear skies with temps in the low 60s and an 8-12 mph WNW breeze (left to right) is Friday’s forecast. Another forecast is for Houston to get outfielder George Springer (thumb) back from the DL to begin this road trip, with reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve (knee) possibly rejoining the club at the end of the journey. My free MLB pick will be on the road warriors from Houston.

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