AL West leaders, Astros visit Los Angeles Angels tonight. Can Los Angeles get untracked against the biggest surprise in the major leagues this season while cashing on the MLB odds?
The Houston Astros Can Win Because…
They are going to have the better starting pitcher on the mound for this game by a large margin. Dallas Keuchel has been outstanding for Houston this season. Not only does he have a tiny 0.80 ERA; that number is based on six starts and 45 innings pitched. Keuchel has given up more than one run in only one of his six starts, and in that game, he allowed two runs in seven innings. He’s been imposing against every lineup he’s faced. In his last four starts, he’s gone six shutout innings, nine shutout innings, eight innings with one run allowed, and then eight innings with one run allowed in his most recent start on May 4 against Texas. He’s been an elite pitcher, and so one should expect him to take the bump and give up no more than two runs in this game. When you give up no more than two runs in a baseball game, you should almost always expect to win. It should also be said that one of Keuchel’s shutouts – a six-inning shutout – came against the Angels on April 18.
The Angels will send Matt Shoemaker to the mound. He’s been the opposite of Keuchel, not in terms of being inconsistent, but in the sense that he’s been consistent in a mediocre way. Shoemaker has allowed at least three runs in each of his five starts this season. He’s pitched seven complete innings only once. He hasn’t pitched against the Angels this season, but when you realize that he’s never been able to give up fewer than three runs in any start in 2015, and when you put that up against Keuchel’s relentless ability to give up no more than two runs (usually just one), it’s clear that Houston has a sizeable pitching advantage in this game. Shoemaker’s ERA is 5.40, four and a half runs more than Keuchel in nearly 17 fewer innings. Shoemaker has pitched under 29 innings so far this season.
The Los Angeles Angels Can Win Because…
They are desperate, and desperation can get a struggling team to play better. For this game the Angels MLB odds opened at -113 but the team have seen everything break in the wrong direction for them this season, and the distractions provided by the whole Josh Hamilton situation seemed to detract from their level of play. We’ve seen teams play horribly in April, though, and rebound over the rest of the season. The Angels still have Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on their team, and with those two superstars, the Halos’ bats can come alive at any time. One also has to wonder when the Astros are going to cool off. They’re riding high now, but every baseball team goes through a down period. Will it come sooner rather than later?
The pitching matchup is far too lopsided for the Angels to be seen as the favorite. This is clearly Houston’s game to lose, so take the Astros with your MLB picks.
MLB Pick: Houston at Wagerweb