The Oakland Athletics (49-37, 22-15 away) and Houston Astros (52-33, 26-16 home) begin a three-game American League West series on Tuesday night in Texas. The Astros own a 7-3 advantage over the A’s in games played this season.
Tuesday night’s first pitch between the top two teams in the AL West begins at 8:10 p.m. EST at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. Houston is the favored team (-145), while oddsmakers have the run total at 8.5.
Oakland Ends First Half with Texas Swing
Oakland closes out the first half of the regular season with a pair of three-game series in Texas against the Astros and Rangers. The Athletics are 4-6 over their last ten games and sit 3.5 games behind Houston with six games remaining until the break.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (9-2, 3.04 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) takes the hill for the visitors. Bassitt had a successful June, finishing the month with a 4-0 record and 2.70 ERA over 36.2 innings of work. The 32-year old has allowed only one earned run over his last two starts.
The Athletics rank 19th in the majors with a .233 batting average and score 4.5 runs per game. First baseman Matt Olson is the lone representative for the A’s on the AL All-Star roster. Olson leads Oakland with 20 home runs and 53 runs driven in.
Astros Ride Four-Game Winning Streak into Final Week
The Astros carry a four-game winning streak and the best record in the AL into the final week of the first half. Houston’s record is only behind the San Francisco Giants for best in baseball. The Astros are 26-16 in games played at home this season.
27-year old Framber Valdez (5-1, 2.18 ERA, 1.04 WHIP) starts on the mound for Houston. The southpaw has been dominant on the mound since returning from the injured list at the end of May. Valdez hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in seven starts and has surrendered only 11 earned runs over 45.1 innings of work.
Houston’s offense averages 5.6 runs per game behind a league-best .273 batting average. Yuli Gurriel (53), Jose Altuve (52), and Yordan Alvarez (51) rank in the top 30 batters, each with 50 or more RBIs. Altuve leads the Astros with 18 home runs, and shortstop Carlos Correa is right behind with 16.
With already ten games under their belt, these two teams have a lot of familiarity with one another. The Astros have owned the head-to-head battle to date and are tough to take down at home. Oakland will need another stellar performance from Bassitt to give the A’s a chance to narrow the series gap.
Valdez has been a force on the mound for the Astros, and Oakland’s splits show an offensive regression against lefties. While we don’t like to jump on a line with this much juice usually, the Astros straight up is the safe play to take.
Prediction: Houston Astros ML