MLB Cappers Pick Home Team: Astros vs. Angels

Matthew Jordan

Friday, July 4, 2014 5:49 PM UTC

Friday, Jul. 4, 2014 5:49 PM UTC

The Angels have one of the best records in the AL since June 1, and if the playoffs started today they would be the top AL wild-card team. To stay there, the Halos need to beat bad teams like Houston. L.A. is -160 on MLB odds for Saturday's matchup.

Trout Still MVP Favorite?
With the All-Star Break upcoming, look for updated AL & NL MVP and Cy Young odds at sportsbooks. Angels outfielder Mike Trout was the spring favorite and still so in the monthly updates for the AL MVP. Is he still? Probably as you can't argue the numbers. Entering Friday, Trout is hitting .314 with 19 home runs, 62 RBIs, 10 steals and an excellent .406 on-base percentage. His OPS of 1.017 is first in the American League. The Angels are 18-11 since the start of June and Trout is hitting .354 in that stretch. According to ESPN, Trout is hitting an obscene .529 against breaking balls in that timeframe (.429 curveballs, .500 changeups and .600 sliders). So why aren't pitchers just hammering him with fastballs in and away? Also, Trout is hitting a stupid .750 when ahead in the count 2-1 and .500 when ahead 2-0. He's pretty good and will start for the AL in the All-Star Game.

Trout's main competition for AL MVP likely will be Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who beat out Trout the past two years, and Victor Martinez, the Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion, the Orioles'  Nelson Cruz and the  White Sox's Jose Abreu. You would like to include someone from the A's, the team with the best record, but they don't really have one standout guy. Maybe Brandon Moss. I purposefully didn't include pitchers Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees or Felix Hernandez of the Mariners, but it's not out of the question one of those two doubles up as Cy Young and MVP like Detroit's Justin Verlander did in 2011. The Yankees and/or Mariners would have to make the playoffs and either pitcher would probably have to win at least 20 games for Tanaka or Hernandez to be considered for MVP in addition to Cy Young.

Probable Pitchers
Right-hander Scott Feldman, Houston's big offseason free-agent acquisition, starts for the Astros. Feldman (4-5, 3.92) hadn't personally gotten a W since May 26 until last time out when he allowed two runs and seven hits in a 6-4 upset of the Detroit Tigers. Ever since getting bombed for nine runs and 11 hits against Baltimore on June 1, Feldman has pitched pretty well, not allowing more than three earned runs but getting little run support. His ERA in that stretch is 3.24.

Feldman has faced the Halos twice. Back on April 6 in Houston he beat the Angels by allowing just a run and three hits over seven innings. However, on May 20 in Anaheim he was hit for eight runs (only three earned) and nine hits in four innings of a loss. No Angel has homered off him this year. A few hit him hard career-wise: Howie Kendrick is 10-for-22 with a home run and three RBIs; Erick Aybar is 11-for-25 with four extra-base hits and three RBIs; Trout has been just OK, with two singles and two RBIs in eight at-bats.

Left-hander Hector Santiago starts for the Angels. He was part of that big three-team trade this offseason with the Diamondbacks and White Sox in which the Angels sent out Mark Trumbo and got Santiago (from Sox) and fellow starter Tyler Skaggs (from Snakes). So far, Santiago (0-7, 4.08) has largely been a bust. He was sent down to Triple-A in late May but has been better since returning in early June. Santiago was 0-1 with a 2.30 ERA last month in four appearances (three starts). Santiago's final outing before being sent down was two scoreless relief innings against the Astros on May 19. Matt Dominquez is 1-for-3 with a double and three RBIs career against Santiago. Chris Carter is 2-for-4 with a double.

MLB free picks: Angels -160 on MLB odds and 'over' 8.5 runs at -120 are the two recommended betting picks for this game. Houston is 1-5 in Feldman's past six on the road. The Angels have won seven straight at home against right-handed starters. The 'over' is 7-2 in Feldman's past nine. The 'over' has hit in six of L.A's past eight against righty starters.

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