The Houston Astros are hearing footsteps in what is becoming a three-team race in the AL West, and after losing two 3-2 games to the Angels, expect another ‘under’ Sunday.
The home team is trying to creep back into the American League West race after beating the visiting division leaders by identical 3-2 scores in the first two games of this series, and it could be another low-scoring affair when right-hander Mike Fiers and the Houston Astros (76-66, 28-42 away) pay a visit to southpaw Andrew Heaney and the Los Angeles Angels (72-69, 44-30 home) at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA at 3:35 ET in a game available on ROOT.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.
Angels Back from the Dead
The Astros have led the division for the vast majority of this season, but if they end up blowing their lead, they can look no further than their play on the road for the reason why. Houston has been a consistent winning MLB pick at home at 48-24, but the Astros are just 28-42 on the road and they have seen their lead over the second place Texas Rangers shrink to 1½ games.
Meanwhile the Angels were all but left for dead before this series, but they have taken the first two games while trying to make this a three-team division race, now closing to within 3½ games of the Astros. Los Angeles also trails Texas by two games for the second and final wild card spot with the Minnesota Twins splitting those two teams at one game behind the Rangers.
Fiers to Help Astros End Skid?
The Astros may have the right pitcher on the mound today though as they try to end their current skid that has seen them lose four of their last five games. Fires has been a godsend since being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers at the trading deadline, as he has posted a 2.92 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in a Houston uniform including tossing a no-hitter at the Los Angeles Dodgers three starts ago on August 21st.
Yes he comes off of his worst American League effort where he allowed four runs all earned in five innings vs. the A’s in Oakland on Monday, but he had allowed one earned run or less in each of his first four starts for Houston, even avoiding the no-hitter “jinx” by allowing one run and three hits in his subsequent start, so he should be able to bounce back well here. It also helps that this his first ever start vs. the Angels, which should make him even tougher to hit.
Furthermore the Angels have been only mediocre offensively at home in Anaheim this year, averaging 3.96 runs while batting .240 in this stadium.
Heaney Can Keep Scoring Down Too
However, Fiers may not be the only hurler pitching well here as Heaney is also mostly in good form for the Halos, meaning that this contest could closely resemble the first two games of this series, which have produced 3-2 scores. That is because Heaney, who was highly touted when he first came up with the Miami Marlins last year, has blossomed during his first season in Los Angeles.
Heaney is 6-3 with a 3.52 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, and even that good ERA is skewed by one awful start where he allowed eight earned runs in 3.1 innings vs. the hot-hitting Toronto Blue Jays. In fact, Heaney has allowed two runs or less in 10 of his 14 starts for the Angels and three runs in another start. And his Angels’ debut came against these Astros back on June 24th when he allowed just one run and four hits in six innings.
He now gets to face a Houston lineup batting just .224 vs. southpaws on the road over the entire season.
An ‘under’ Series Overall
Finally, the results of the past two nights bring the ‘under’ to 12-4-1 in the last 17 head-to-head meetings between these teams. Also, the ‘under’ is 41-31-2 in all games at Angel Stadium this season with those contests averaging just a combined 7.50 runs per game.
Given these starting pitchers today combined with the pressure of a big game in the pennant race, look for that strong ‘under’ trend in this head to head series between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels to continue in Anaheim on Sunday.
MLB Pick: Astros, Angels ‘under’ 8 (-110)