Friday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Angels vs. Astros: Bet On Houston to Keep Crushing Lefties (April 23)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Correa.
- With Mike Trout potentially out of Friday's lineup, the Los Angeles Angels will try to hold on against the Houston Astros.
- The Astros have absolutely crushed left-handed pitching this season, though, so Andrew Heaney and Los Angeles could be in trouble.
- Check out Mike Ianniello's full betting guide complete with updated odds and a pick below.
Angels vs. Astros Odds
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The Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros are set for Game 2 of a four-game series this weekend at Minute Maid Park. Houston came away with a dominant 8-2 win in Game 1, as the Houston bats racked up 13 hits and Cristian Javier struck out nine in five scoreless innings.
Houston (8-10) is just 2-8 in its last 10 games after dealing with some COVID-19 protocol issues and missing their key players for a couple of games.
Los Angeles (9-8) has lost three of its last four games and saw its best player leave the game early last night after being hit on the elbow.
Los Angeles Angels
Left-hander Andrew Heaney will make his third start of the season and has rebounded nicely from a disastrous first start. After giving up seven runs in three innings in his first outing of the year against the White Sox, Heaney has allowed just two runs and five hits while striking out 15 over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts.
Heaney has a 5.65 ERA early in the year, but a 2.81 FIP is an extremely positive sign. His 11.93 K/9 and 33.3 K% would be the highest of his career if he can keep it up. Heaney’s fastball velocity is up this year, and his curveball is generating a career-best chase rate.
The Angels offense potentially took a big blow last night when Mike Trout was hit on the elbow with a pitch. He did not finish the game and could miss tonight as well. In case you have never watched baseball before and clicked on this article by accident… Mike Trout is the best player in baseball.
Trout is batting .393 this season with a .542 wOBA and six home runs. Los Angeles is also already without Anthony Rendon, who is on the injured list.
The Angels will now need to rely on a pair of lefties who have had success against right-handed pitchers this season. Jared Walsh is batting .333 and Shohei Ohtani is hitting .311 against righties, and Los Angeles as a team ranks fourth with a .267 batting average and fifth in wOBA.
Former Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke will make his fifth start of the young season already. The right-hander has a 2-1 record with a 2.81 ERA and has looked great in three of his four starts. He allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Tigers on April 12, but other than that game, he has allowed just two runs over 21 innings.
In his most recent start in Seattle on April 17, Greinke went eight innings, allowing no runs and just four hits while striking out six. In his start against the Angels on April 6, he gave up two runs on five hits and struck out four over seven innings. The Angels had just a 14.3 hard hit percentage, the lowest against Greinke since 2019.
The biggest concern for Greinke is that his K% is down at 16.2% compared to 24.5% last season. His average fastball velocity is down to 88.7, and he has thrown his fastball just 39.8% of the time. Instead, he is throwing his curveball 21.4% of pitches, the highest clip of his career.
After missing most of their big guns for a couple of games because of COVID-19 protocol, the Astros’ stars shined last night. Alex Bregman went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley each picked up a pair of hits. Eight of the nine batters for Houston had at least one hit last night.
This Houston lineup sits sixth in the league in batting average and seventh in wRC+. The Astros have four players batting over .300 this season: Alex Bregman (.326), Yuli Gurriel (.317), Michael Brantley (.310) and Jose Altuve (.318), who is nearing a return and could be back in the lineup tonight or at some point this weekend.
The uncertainty of Trout is obviously a huge question coming into this game and could drastically change the line once the lineup is confirmed.
Heaney has looked good this season and has bounced back nicely, but this Houston lineup is going to be a tough challenge for the lefty.
The Astros absolutely crush left-handed pitchers, ranking third in baseball with a .292 batting average. They have a .353 wOBA and wRC+ against southpaws this season. Heaney’s strength is his strikeout ability, but no team in the league strikes out less than Houston, especially against lefties.
Bregman is hitting .381 against left-handers this year, and Gurriel (.385), Correa (.333) and Altuve (.500) — if he plays — are also mashing left-handed pitching.
Greinke was great in his first start against the Angels, and I trust the veteran to keep the Angels in check while the Houston bats continue to dominate lefties.
Back Houston at -145 or better.
Pick: Astros ML -140