MLB Picks: Angels vs. Astros Preview

Joe Freda

Thursday, May 9, 2013 12:05 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 9, 2013 12:05 PM UTC

The Houston Astros notched a second straight win over the Los Angeles Angels with Wednesday’s 3-1 victory, cashing as 126 home dogs. Should we break out the dust pan?

Thursday night’s finale between the American League West rivals has Angels left-hander Jason Vargas (1-3, 3.72 ERA) slated to face Astros righty Lucas Harrell (3-3, 5.03 ERA).

Will the Astros complete the sweep or can the Angels end their slide as road ‘chalk’ here?

Vargas Gets First Win

Vargas went the nine-frame distance in Friday’s 4-0 victory as a 132 home favorite for Los Angeles over the Baltimore Orioles. The 30-year-old held the Orioles to three hits and two walks, tossing 107 pitches.

Angels sluggers Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo both cracked homers, uniting for their squad’s four RBIs. Los Angeles’ Erick Aybar poked his third double of the year, while mate J.B. Shuck went 2-for-3 from the lineup’s No. 9 slot.

The contest plunged beneath the MLB betting odds ‘total’ of 8 ½, moving the UNDER to 2-0 in Vargas’ last pair of starts. Angels designated hitter Josh Hamilton came away with a 0-for-4 night, striking out three times. 

Harrell lit up at home 

Harrell logged his first loss in four starts with Saturday’s 17-2 setback for Houston to the Detroit Tigers, dropping the matchup as a 183 home dog. The fourth-year hurler was shelled for eight runs on 10 hits, leaving after 4 1/3 innings. 

Astros catcher Carlos Corporan drilled a solo-shot homer, finishing with a 2-for-4 night. Houston’s Jason Castro drove in his side’s other run, while the Astros were edged in hits by Detroit, 21-6. 

The lopsided affair’s combined 19 runs soared above the ‘total’ of eight, lifting the OVER to 5-1 in Harrell’s last six outings. Astros relievers Jose Cisnero and Paul Clemens allowed eight earned runs over the last 4 2/3 frames, while shortstop Ronny Cedeno recorded the matchup’s sole error.

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Back the OVER in Houston opened Vargas as a 160 road favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ at a flat nine. Houston remains home for Friday’s weekend opener against the Texas Rangers, while Los Angeles heads north to meet the Chicago White Sox. 

I am adding an baseball picks ticket on the OVER in this duel to Thursday’s Sports Pick, looking for the series to end with its share of runs. 

Harrell’s last outing lifted his numbers at home to a 1.90 WHIP and .421 OBP, giving up five homers over the span’s 27 1/3 IP. Los Angeles’ Josh Hamilton and Luis Jimenez have poked a homer and double in their combined seven career at-bat’s facing Harrell, while mates Tommy Field and Chris Ianetta have hit 4-for-6. 

Vargas is still without a road win, allowing a sizable 1.71 WHIP and .358 OBP in opposing stadiums. Houston has hit a stellar .281 against left-handed pitching at home, driving in 6.86 runs per nine innings against southpaws. 

The OVER has collected at a 13-4-1 clip in Los Angeles’ last 18 road games against right-handed starters, while going 6-0 in Houston’s last six matchups facing listed lefties. Look for the OVER to get the money again here, adding to the 6-1 mark for the wager in umpire Adrian Johnson’s last seven outings behind home plate. 

Free Pick: OVER 9 at BET 365

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