The Astros are 6-6 on the season and have lost their last two. Oakland is the hottest team in the league, having won six consecutive games and have a 9-4 record. They are the favorite with odds of –135 compared to +115 for the Astros with an over/under of nine.
Francisco Valdez is scheduled to start for the Astros, while Frankie Montas is set to take the hill for the A’s. Valdez has pitched solidly so far this season, allowing three earned runs in 10 2/3 innings, striking out 10 and walking two. The Astros have gotten quality work from the bullpen from Brandon Bielak (1 earned run, 10 2/3 innings) and Blake Taylor (no runs, five hits, 8 2/3 innings). Overall, the Astros have a team ERA of 4.39.
While Valdez has been solid, Montas have been even more impressive. He has yet to be taken deep in 16 innings, allowing only four earned runs, while striking out 17. The bullpen trio of Burch Smith, Yusmeiro Petit, and Joakim Soira have been nearly perfect, allowing only two runs with 23 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings. As a unit, the A’s have the fifth best ERA in the Major Leagues at 3.05.
The Astros offensive attack it led by George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Jose Altuve, who each have left the park three times. Springer leads the Astros, who have averaged nearly six runs per game, with 12 RBI. As a team, the Astros are batting .253 with 17 home runs and 71 runs scored in 12 games.
Oakland has struggled at the plate, ranked 26th in batting average at .206 and averaging 4.46 runs per game. Matt Olson has been the main power threat with four home runs and 10 RBI, while Ramon Laureano has hit three home runs with 10 RBI. Clearly, the A’s pitching has carried them through first part of the season.
Breaking down this game, the A’s have a slight edge on the mound in terms of the two starters, but a huge advantage on the bullpen. As long as the A’s can stay close through the mid-innings, expect them to get to the Houston pen. I expect a lower scoring game, betting the under with the A’s winning outright, extending their winning streak.