Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Jaime Barria. Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports
Thanks to an absolute gem from starter Andrew Heaney and a superb defensive play from Kole Calhoun, the Angels tied the Astros atop the AL West on Monday.
Kole’s cannon. pic.twitter.com/oM2rzHUNuT
— MLB (@MLB) May 15, 2018
That tie will be broken tonight in what looks like a massive pitching mismatch on paper. Let’s take a closer look at those starting pitchers and analyze a few other key betting angles.
Houston Astros (-180) at Los Angeles Angels (+162) | O/U: 8
Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.43 ERA) vs. Jaime Barria (3-1, 2.45 ERA)
10:07 p.m. ET
Aces Wild: Despite a quality start, Lance McCullers took the loss in Game 1 of the series Monday night. However, he did lower his season ERA to an impressive 3.63. Amazingly, he has the highest ERA of the five Houston starters. How dominant has the Astros’ starting rotation been this season? Just take a look at the American League leaders in ERA among qualified pitchers:
Yes, the top three all pitch for Houston. If you expand that list to the top 12, you’d also find Dallas Keuchel, and all five (including McCullers) rank in the top 25. Wild. — Stuckey
Cole World: Cole, tonight’s starter, has the second-lowest ERA in the American League, but other metrics suggest he’s been the best pitcher in all of baseball. He owns the lowest FIP (1.54) and xFIP (2.24) among all qualified pitchers. His silly 35.6% K/BB ratio also leads the majors.
Cole’s lone loss this season came against the Halos, but he did his part by allowing only two runs on four hits over seven innings. He will have to pitch extra carefully to the red-hot Justin Upton, who is 5-for-14 (.357) lifetime against the former 2011 first overall pick. However, the other current Angels have not enjoyed much success at the plate against Cole — combining to go just 11-for-85 (.129). — Stuckey
Cole owns a 40-27 career road record on the moneyline, netting bettors +6.8 units of profit. However, the right-hander has actually lost bettors money (-1.6 units) on the road inside of his division. He has done almost all of his road damage outside of the division: +8.4 units.
So far this season, Cole has been nearly unhittable on the road — regardless of the opponent — posting a 0.62 ERA. In fact, he has allowed only five extra-base hits to the 104 hitters he’s faced away from home. — Evan Abrams