Earn Quick Ticket to Heaven with Early Angels-Astros Plays

Rainman M.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 1:18 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 16, 2018 1:18 PM UTC

The Angels look to avenge a late-inning loss to Houston. Tonight’s series finale at 9:40 ET in Anaheim will be a pitcher’s duel in which the home dog has value.

MLB Wednesday: Astros (27-17, 14-27-2 O/U) vs. Angels (25-17, 21-20 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Angels 1H ML & 1H 'Under' 4Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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The "under" is 4-0 in Justin Verlander's (4-2, 1.21 ERA) last four starts for Houston. In his last three starts, the Astros have produced one run for baseball’s ERA leader.

In JV's 14 starts with Houston, he has allowed more than two runs on one occasion. He’s faced the Angels twice, allowing two runs in 14 innings. His career against the Angels has been strong no matter what team he’s played for. In 196 career at-bats, the Angels are hitting .128 against him. Superstar Mike Trout, for instance, is 2-for-23 lifetime against Verlander.

Overall, Verlander is striking out more batters, allowing fewer walks and home runs, and inducing 10% less hard contact than last year. He’s throwing his slider more often than ever and opponents’ slugging percentage against it is down .99 from last season. He’s reduced its vertical movement, which makes it harder for opponents to track. Instead, it slides more so that it is more elusive. He uses it more frequently in order to finish off batters with two strikes particularly by placing it in the lowest right corner of the strike zone 37% of the time against right-handed hitters. Opposing righties are slugging .100 against the slider in this spot.

Despite his dominance overall and against lefties, same-handed batters have caused the most trouble for Verlander, especially exploiting his mistakes in leaving pitches over the middle parts of the plate. Verlander is yielding a 1.24 FIP (like ERA, but factors out luck) to lefties but 3.14 to righties and the Halos’ lineup is righty-heavy. Mike Trout has two career homers vs JV. Also look out for Andrelton Simmons, who is slugging .505 against righties, .583 in night games, and batting .342 on the season and .385 in May.

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Statcast gave this ball a 76% hit probability...
Haaaaaaaaave you met @MikeTrout? pic.twitter.com/qEccV1Fnnc

— Angels (@Angels) May 16, 2018

Garrett Richards (4-1, 4.08 ERA) counters for Los Angeles. In their careers, Astros’ batters are hitting .236 in 127 tries against Richards with only three doubles and a homer. In his last start against the Astros, last September, he achieved a one-hit gem through six innings in Houston.

Richards had a shaky start to the season which is still reflected in his ERA. His ERA is also inflated by his attempts to stretch out his outings. Opponents are slugging .652 against him in his third time through the batting order.

In his last two starts, he allowed zero runs in the first five innings. Richards also fixed his issue with command, walking only one batter in his last 12 innings. The key for Richards has been to rediscover comfort with his sinker, which, as a pitcher who likes to induce ground balls, is one of his favorite pitches. In May, he’s throwing it more frequently and inducing a great drop in opposing slugging percentage by giving it slightly more movement and locating it more often in the lowest part of the strike zone. Because his sinker is strong, opponents are less able to sit on his fastball, which he throws more randomly and now more effectively.

In their last five games, Houston is averaging less than two runs through the first five innings. They only hit two Texas pitchers who have an FIP over 5 pretty hard.

The Angels’ 1H ML on the MLB odds board has value because we are getting a chance to earn "plus" money in an even matchup. Also, for our MLB picks this spot is propitious for a motivated Angels’ squad that lost a late-inning heartbreaker Tuesday night. After a close loss (of one or two runs) the Angels’ 1H ML is 5-2-1 in the following game.

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