An intense three game series kicks off on Tuesday in the May 18th Astros at Athletics matchup. Oakland holds a 1/2 a game lead in the AL West, but Houston is coming on strong with six straight wins. The Astros also swept a 4-game series in Oakland to begin the 2021 regular season.
Oddsmakers are calling this one pretty evenly, setting Houston at -107 and the A’s at -103. There’s value on Oakland, who has gone 13-5 in their last 18 home games as well as Houston who is on a six game win streak.
Houston has now won six straight games, doing it largely with offense as they’ve scored 5+ runs in five of those tilts. Carlos Correa has been red hot with a .412 average over the last week and Jose Altuve is right behind him hitting .400 over that span. Houston is still just in 2nd place in the West though – although that could change after the May 18th Astros at Athletics meeting.
The Astros will be in a tough matchup on Tuesday against Sean Manaea (3-2, 4.40 ERA) however. Houston has gone just 2-6 in their last 8 road games against a LH starter, but do have a .254 average vs. Manaea (44-173). Alex Bregman has gone yard three times in 29 AB vs. the A’s pitcher.
Houston counters with Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08 ERA) who has had his share of struggles this month after a scorching start to the season. The right-hander allowed 2 total ER in his first four starts of the year, but has allowed 11 over his last three (17.1 IP).
Oakland Back at Home
The A’s just wrapped up another successful road trip, taking two of three in series’ at Boston and at Minnesota. Oakland has now split or tied in all five road games this season, including taking two of three in Houston in early April.
The Oakland offense looked good in the series against Minnesota, plating 17 runs over the three game set. The A’s also had some success against Javier last season, going for 5ER in 3.0 IP in a 7-2 win on August 9th and winning 6-0 in a September 7th start. Oakland is still hitting just .192 vs. the Houston starter, but do have 3 HR of their 10 hits in 52 AB.
Manaea will shoot for a bounce back on the bump after allowing 7ER over just 2.0 IP against Boston the last time out. The good news is that the left-hander will be fresh after tossing only 47 pitches, and that start vs. the Red Sox was on the road. Manaea has a 3.60 ERA in five home starts, but 6.23 in three outings on the road.
Free May 18th Astros at Athletics Pick
This one really could go either way, as Oakland is back at home where they had been on a nice run. One thing to note about the six game win streak for Houston is that all of those victories have come at home and against the Rangers and Angels, the two worst teams in the AL West. The Astros are 9-8 on the road this season, which makes the A’s the play.
Athletics 5 – Astros 4
Free Pick: Athletics -103