Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Pick 7/17/19
Houston Astros (59-37) at Los Angeles Angels (50-46)
When: 10 p.m., Wednesday, July 17
Where: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif.
Moneyline: HOU -174 / LAA +164 (Check BetOnline)
Runline: Stros -1.5 -110/Halos +1.5 +100
Starting Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.23 ERA, 1.03 WHIP) vs. Felix Pena (7-2, 4.32 ERA, 1.13 WHIP)
Whatever Anaheim did during the All-Star break seems to have worked, because the Angels are simply whacking the ball right now. In five games since the end of the break, the Angels have outscored their opponents by a combined 44-13 and put all five contests in the win column. OK, three of those wins came over the sad-sack Seattle Mariners, but there’s no way not to be impressed with scoring 15 runs in two games against Houston.
What makes the outburst more impressive is that the Angels are doing it without relying on the deep shot the way most teams have done this year. While the Angels certainly can hit home runs (they rank 11th in baseball at doing so with 140), they don’t have to hit it deep in order to get results. In fact, George Springer of Houston has more home runs in this series by himself than the Angels do as a team. That’s a great sign moving forward that this team has the will and the ability to adjust to whatever they face.
On Tuesday, the Astros managed 13 hits for the game, which should have set them up well for a strong offensive showing. Instead, Houston put just two runs on the board, allowing the Angels to come away with an easy victory after a six-run first inning.
To say Houston isn’t hitting would be simply inaccurate, as the Astros have put up six or more runs in three of their past five contests. But the Astros aren’t hitting the ball when it matters most, and they aren’t getting the extra-base hits that fuel a team’s offensive attack. There’s nothing wrong with going station-to-station on offense, but it doesn’t always get the job done, especially when the other side is having no problem taking extra bases so, if the Angels are hitting doubles while the Astros are hitting singles, advantage Angels.
You Can Go Home Again
Houston pitcher Gerrit Cole has made life miserable for the Angels since he came over to the Astros from Pittsburgh. Cole is from Newport Beach, just minutes away from the Angels’ home stadium, and he attended UCLA, so pitching in southern California is a homecoming of sorts for him.
He pitches like it, owning a 4-1 record against the Angels in the past two seasons, and the Astros won the one no-decision, showing just how much he’s mastered SoCal pitching.
The Angels have the opportunity to catch up to the Astros, and according to their recent performances, they don’t plan on squandering it. The Angels have taken the past two games, but Houston still leads the series for the year at 4-3. With 12 games left between the two squads, this is the time that every change needs to happen.
- The Astros are 1-6 in their past seven Wednesday games.
- The Astros are 5-1 in Cole’s past six starts after scoring two runs or less in the previous game.
- The Angels have won four of Pena’s past five home starts.
- The Angles are 5-0 in their past five home games.
- The over is 4-1 in the Astros’ past five road games against teams with a winning record.
- The under is 5-0 in Pena’s past five home starts against a team with a winning record
The SoCal sunshine will be out in this game, as temperatures are projected to be at 80 degrees at first pitch.
Cole’s mastery of the Angels is tough to ignore. He’s pitched well against them whenever he’s faced them, and he’s comfortable in the heat of Southern California. But unlike Sabathia last night, who had his team behind him firmly, Cole’s teammates are struggling to get things done against the Angels’ pitching staff. Pena is usually strong at home, and the Angels seem to spread the wealth around at the plate by getting contributions from all over their lineup.
In a matchup like this, I have to go with the hot team. That means taking the Angels to finally figure out Cole and keep the momentum going since the end of the break. Give me the Angels here.