The series between the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros could have big implications on the AL West. By chance, if the Athletics were to sweep, they would lead the AL West by a game and a half. If the Astros did the same, they would lead it by 4.5. By teams are playing good ball. Despite losing ace Sean Manaea to the disabled list, the Athletics won three of four over the weekend against the Minnesota Twins.
The Astros also had a big weekend as the swept the Los Angeles Angels. Now, the division foes will match up as the Athletics (79-52) travel to Minute Maid Park to take on the defending World Series champion Astros (80-50). For the A’s, they will send southpaw Brett Anderson (3-3, 3.47 ERA) to the mound. The Astros will counter with Gerrit Cole (11-5, 2.73 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.
The moneyline for Monday night’s game is set at the Oakland Athletics +162 and the Houston Astros -172. The over/under for runs scored is set at 8.
Athletics Looking To Take Over AL West
The Oakland A’s have been one of the hottest teams in baseball over the last month or two. In the month of August alone they are 16-6. To try to keep it going they will be sending lefty Brett Anderson to the mound. On the season, Anderson is 3-3 with a 3.47 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and opponents are hitting .263 against him. In 62.1 innings, he has 33 strikeouts, 12 walks and has allowed 7 home runs. In his last outing, a 6-0 win over the Rangers, Anderson went 7 innings of shutout ball with 6 strikeouts.
Offensively, Matt Chapman has raked over the last month. In that time he is hitting .321/.387/.679 with a 1.066 OPS. In those 30 days he has 8 home runs, 16 runs batted in and 22 runs scored. Despite those strong numbers, he has not fared well against Gerrit Cole in his career as he is 0 for 10. One player who has fared well is Jonathan Lucroy, who in 27 at-bats is hitting .407 with 7 runs batted in. Kris Davis (.273 in 22 at-bats and a homer), Jed Lowrie (.308 in 13 at-bats) and Stephen Piscotty (.308 in 26 at-bats with a homer and 4 runs batted in) have also had success.
Astros Looking To Put Separation Between Them And Athletics
While the Astros have been plagued by injuries as of late, they are finally starting to get healthy. After pinch-hitting in the ninth inning of Sunday’s game, it is expected that George Springer will start Monday night against the A’s. If so, that will be the first time that he, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa have been in the lineup at the same time since June. Adding Springer to the top of the lineup with Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa is huge. On the season, Springer is hitting .249/.333/.430 with a .763 OPS. He has 19 home runs, 59 runs batted in and 75 runs scored. Also getting healthy for the Astros are Brian McCann and Chris Devenski, who are currently on rehab assignments and will likely be recalled when the rosters expand over the weekend.
On the mound, Gerrit Cole will look to take the first game of the division rivalry. On the season, Cole is 11-5 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and opponents are hitting a paltry .194 against him. In 164.2 innings, the righty has 226 strikeouts, 52 walks and has allowed 14 home runs. In his last three outings, Cole has gone a combined 18.1 innings, allowing 7 earned runs and striking out 24.
Astros Take Game One
This truly is a game where you can’t go wrong thinking either team will win. The A’s have had some success against Cole in the past and are playing really good ball right now. The Astros are finally getting healthy and have really been able to get to lefties over the last couple years. Something obviously has to give in this one. Thus, with a close call both ways, I have to go with the starter who has shown sustained success throughout the entire season and that is Gerrit Cole. The Astros really need a good start from him and I think that is exactly what they will get. Take the Astros -172.