As we approach the halfway mark of the season, teams continue to jockey for possible postseason positioning. In the AL West, the Oakland A’s have separated themselves from the field, but others are still hoping to make a run.
Monday night will feature an AL West matchup as the Los Angeles Angels (9-20) will travel to Minute Maid Park to take on the Houston Astros (15-13). First pitch for this one is scheduled for 9:10 pm ET.
For the Angels, they come into this one amid a rough season at 9-20. Over the weekend, they lost two of three from the first-place Oakland A’s. On Sunday, they lost 5-4 in extra innings, with Shohei Ohtani hitting his fifth home run of the season.
For the Astros, they also had a rough weekend. After having won eight in a row, they were swept at the hands of the San Diego Padres over the weekend. On Sunday, the Astros lost 5-3 despite a quality start from Zack Greinke and a home run from outfielder Kyle Tucker.
The pitching matchup for this one will feature Patrick Sandoval (0-3, 5.40 ERA) going for the Angels against the Astros’ Framber Valdez (2-2, 1.72 ERA).
According to FanDuel, the Astros come into this one as the favorite with a moneyline of -156 while the Angels sit at +136. The spread features the Angels +1.5 and the over/under for total runs scored is 9.5.
By The Numbers
On the offensive side, the Astros come in as the better of the two teams when it comes to runs scored. The Astros currently rank 7th in runs per game at 5.22. For the Angels, they sit at 18th overall averaging 4.54 runs per game.
On the defensive end, it is once again the Astros who hold an advantage. They allow opponents to score an average of 4.59 runs per game while the Angels, who rank 25th, are allowing opponents to score an average of 5.61 runs per game.
Angels Hoping To Right The Ship
When you have Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Shohei Ohtani in the lineup, you anticipate that you have the makings of an excellent team. Unfortunately for the Angels, this just hasn’t come to fruition at this point.
For their part, Trout, Rendon, and Ohtani have been solid. Trout is hitting .270/.342/.610 with ten home runs, 25 runs batted in and 18 runs scored. He continues to show why he is the best in the game.
For Rendon, he is hitting .319/.451/.560 with six home runs, 16 runs batted in and 17 runs scored. Ohtani has not been quite as solid as he is hitting just .181/.261/.410, but he does have five home runs and 14 runs batted in.
One of the weakest points for the Angels, though, has been pitching. On the mound for the Angels Monday will be Patrick Sandoval.
On the season, he is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and has 14 strikeouts in 20 innings. He will look to improve on those marks against a depleted Astros lineup.
Astros Trying To Prevail Despite Injuries
Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Justin Verlander, and Roberto Osuna are just a handful of the many names currently on the injured list for the Astros. Despite the injuries, the Astros have shown they can be successful, but need some of their starts to step up.
After a dismal start to the season, Jose Altuve had a better week last week. At one point, he had been 9 for 18 and had four straight multi-hit games. That was snapped on Sunday when he went hitless. He is hitting .214/.270/.333 with three home runs, 12 runs batted in and 17 runs scored.
One player who has picked it up as of late is Kyle Tucker. After a home run Sunday, he is now hitting .240/.287/.490 with four home runs, 20 runs batted in and 22 runs scored. He leads the team in both runs batted in and runs scored.
On the mound for the Astros will be southpaw Framber Valdez. In 5 games (4 starts), he is 2-2 with a 1.72 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and has 29 strikeouts in 31.1 innings pitched. He has had more success this year as he has cut his walks down significantly. In 31.1 innings, he only has seven walks to this point.
Taking The Astros At Home
When you look at the records, the Astros have played better than the Angels this season, playing even better at home. To date, they are 10-4 at Minute Maid Park while the Angels are 4-11 on the road.
That, coupled with Valdez throwing so well, has me leaning towards the Astros in this one at -156.