Thursday MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions for Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics (Sept. 10)
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Brantley (23) and Alex Bregman (2).
- The Athletics are favored over the Astros on Thursday afternoon.
- Brad Cunningham's model shows value on Houston in the first five innings, as he's avoiding deal with the Astros' horrid bullpen.
- Get his full breakdown and model projections below.
Astros vs. Athletics Odds
|Astros Odds||+125 [Bet Now]|
|Athletics Odds||-143 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||9 (-114/-107) [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||Thursday, 3:40 p.m. ET|
Oakland will look to hold onto its lead in the AL West as the Athletics send Sean Manaea to the mound to take on Jose Urquidy and the Astros. The A’s have led the AL West since the start of the season and can potentially extend their lead to seven games with 19 games remaining in the regular season.
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Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.
Astros Projected Lineup
Houston’s offense has been above average over the past two weeks, accumulating a wOBA of .329 and 110 wRC+. It’s been a struggle for the Astros for most of the season, but they have recently found some success against left-handed pitching. Houston ranks eighth against lefties, hitting for a .268 average and a .350 wOBA.
The Astros received some positive news earlier this week as their best hitter, Alex Bregman, returned from the IL. He’ll be a welcomed sight as Houston heads down the stretch run of the season.
Astros Probable Starter
Jose Urquidy, RHP
Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Jose Urquidy was relatively unknown by most fans until he burst onto the scene during the playoffs last season. He tossed five clutch shutout innings in Game 4 of the World Series and saved the Astros from going behind 3-1 in the series.
Urquidy is mainly a fastball pitcher, throwing it 47.3% of time, but he’s not very effective with it. Last year, he allowed opponents to hit for a .269 average off it and only produced a 19.2% whiff rate.
Where he excels is with his secondary pitches, especially his changeup and slider. Both pitches garnered over a 30% whiff rate last season and held opponents to a .173 combined average.
Urquidy will have a great matchup against an A’s lineup that struggles against both changeups (-8.5 weighted changeup runs) and sliders (-12.1 weighted slider runs).
A’s Projected Lineup
Oakland’s offense has been struggling over the past two weeks, as the A’s have only mustered up a .305 wOBA. They are really missing Matt Chapman right now, who has missed the last two games due to a hip injury.
The A’s have been fairly average against right-handers, accumulating a .323 wOBA. But as I previously mentioned, they’ve struggled versus sliders and changeups. So they’ll have a tough matchup against Urquidy on Thursday.
A’s Probable Starter
Sean Manaea, LHP
Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Sean Manaea has been a bit unlucky this season. His ERA is 5.09, but his xFIP is all the way down at 3.78, so he’s due for some positive regression.
However, he’s having real issues with his fastball, as opponents have tagged it for a .342 average. That wont bode well against a Houston lineup that has crushed fastballs (11.3 weighted fastball runs). Manaea added a curveball to his pitch arsenal over the offseason, but so far it hasn’t been effective, allowing a .513 wOBA to opposing batters.
Even though Manaea is due for some positive regression, he doesn’t have a great matchup against the Astros lineup, which hits both lefties and fastballs really well.
Houston’s bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster, ranking 25th in xFIP at 5.07. The Astros been riddled by a number of injuries to some of their top relievers and haven’t been able to find any consistent arms to back up Ryan Pressley.
Oakland has one of the best bullpens in baseball, ranking fifth in MLB with a 4.07 combined xFIP. The A’s will have a significant advantage over the Astros in the bullpen department throughout the series.
Projections and Pick
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I think the Astros have a good matchup in this game, but I don’t want anything to do with their horrendous bullpen. So, I am going to back Houston for the first five innings at +107 (DraftKings) and would play it up to -103.
Pick: Astros First Five Innings +107.