MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Angels: Can Zack Greinke Out-Duel Patrick Sandoval? (Friday, August 13)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Angels: Can Zack Greinke Out-Duel Patrick Sandoval? (Friday, August 13) article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Greinke (left) and Patrick Sandoval.

  • The Astros continue their quest toward another AL West title with a series against the Angels that start on Friday.
  • Zack Greinke will start for the Astros opposite left-hander Patrick Sandoval, who is having a very good season in the Angels' rotation.
  • Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup below and makes his pick.

Astros vs. Angels Odds

Astros Odds-130
Angels Odds+110
TimeFriday, 9:38 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday and via PointsBet

After falling off their torrid pace ever so slightly, the Astros will look to re-assert their dominance in the AL West with a three-game set at Angel Stadium. L.A. enters this one now 11 games back of Houston in the division, though with a little push it could get firmly into the wild-card conversation. Does that make the Angels a speculative play at home, or should we target the total? Let's have a look at the matchup below.

Crafty Greinke Takes on Halos

Let's get the obvious out of the way: Houston has a good offense. Regardless of what's happened over the last couple of weeks, come playoff time, no pitcher is going to want the ball against the Astros. With that said, this may be the best time to draw them if you're an opponent.

Houston has lost six out of 10, and over the past two weeks own a pedestrian (for their standards, anyway) 111 wRC+, which ranks ninth in baseball. It's hardly bad, but considering this team was running away with the second-half wRC+ crown just a couple of weeks ago and just faced some pretty average pitching, it's definitely the slightest bit concerning.

One area the Astros are still king, however, is against lefties, where they own a .783 OPS all season long. That makes this matchup on Friday appealing.

Zack Greinke will go again for Houston, and despite consistently low strikeout numbers this season he's managed to find a way to keep this team in the game every time out. He's been brilliant when it comes to limiting walks, and while he has had issues with home runs lately hasn't pitched so poorly to contact with a 33.6% hard-hit rate and 6.9% barrel rate.

Sandoval Thriving in 2021 With Angels

Despite racking up some wins in the second half, the Angels have been very underwhelming at the dish since the break with just a .662 OPS and a mediocre 7.3% walk rate.getting runners on has been a struggle as has been doing damage, as evidenced by a weak .130 ISO. The one area they've been alright is putting the bat on the ball, ranking 15th with a solid 77.1% contact rate. That hasn't translated to hits, however, with poor hard-hit and barrel rates.

Coming up against one of the better guys at pitching to contact, the matchup couldn't be much worse for the Angels. The same could be said for Patrick Sandoval, who has to deal with probably the best team in baseball against left-handed pitching.

To his credit, the southpaw has actually put together a great campaign in his third big-league season, pitching to a 3.39 ERA (with an identical xERA) and a solid 26.7% strikeout rate. Where this matchup might take a turn on Sandoval is in the plate discipline department, considering the Astros have a patient eye and the lefty has walked 10% of the batters he's faced, which is comfortably higher than average.

Still, Sandoval has been a pleasant surprise for L.A., and this will be a huge test for him. He limited the Dodgers to just two runs in his last appearance, and will be out for blood once more.

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Astros-Angels Pick

I realize Greinke is old and doesn't rack up strikeouts, which doesn't make him cool in today's MLB. He's still proven to be an incredibly effective pitcher and will run into a great matchup with a weak L.A. lineup. The Angels are contact-happy, but have struggled to do much damage when they've hit the ball. Greinke has expertly induced soft balls back in play, and should be able to comfortably handle a slumping lineup.

I believe in Sandoval, but this is going to be a different beast for him. The Astros should scratch across at least two or three, which could be enough for Greinke and a rejuvenated Astros bullpen.

Pick: Astros ML (-130)

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