Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels Pick 9/26/19
Houston Astros (104-54) vs. Los Angeles Angels (72-86)
When: 10 p.m., Thursday, September 26
Where: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif.
Moneyline: HOU Off/LAA Off
Runline: Astros Off/Angels Off
Starting Pitchers: Wade Miley (14-6, 3.91 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) vs. Jaime Barria (4-10, 6.43 ERA, 1.44 WHIP)
All About the Juice
The juice being the Astros’ home field of Minute Maid Park, which they won’t see again until the postseason. The question for Houston is whether they’ll have home-field advantage for only the ALDS or if they’ll get to start the ALCS at home as well. The Astros hold a 2½ game lead on the Yankees for the top seed in the American League, and with one win out of four in Anaheim, they’ll clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The reason it’s all about getting home field is that the Astros really shouldn’t have much preference as to who they play, based on the standings. Houston holds a season record of either 4-3 or 3-4 against every potential playoff opponent except for Oakland, who the Astros played 19 times instead of seven. Even that series was a tight one, with Houston holding an 11-8 record against the Athletics.
Fall of the Hurler
Wade Miley likely hasn’t forgotten what happened the last time he faced the Angels. It wasn’t pretty, as the Angels chased him after scoring four runs off of him in the first inning. Then again, nothing Miley has done in September has been pretty. In his past four starts, he’s only made it to the second inning on one occasion. Otherwise, he’s been nothing short of awful, posting a 22.03 ERA in the month. Miley started the month poorly by failing to get a single out against Seattle, giving up five runs in the process, and it’s only continued from there, as he followed by getting a single out against Oakland and allowing seven runs to score.
Miley is a better pitcher than this, but he hasn’t come close to showing it for the past four weeks. If he can’t rediscover what made him a strong pitcher, the Astros will find themselves with a very weak link in the postseason.
Barria Means Defeat
Since July 24, Jamie Barria has been nothing short of a disaster for the Angels, as he’s taken the loss in his past seven decisions. Barria has had nine starts since that win over the Dodgers on July 24, and the Angels have tasted defeat in all of them. He’s pitched well enough to win in some of those games, but last week’s game at Houston certainly wasn’t one of them. Barria gave up eight hits in the contest, and four of them were home runs, allowing the Astros to put up six runs in 2.2 innings and cruise to a win.
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The Angels haven’t exactly put up much resistance to the Astros this season, going 4-11 against Houston and 2-4 when they’ve been at home. That’s par for the course in this matchup, as the Angels haven’t won the season series with the Astros since 2014, which marked the last time that they made the playoffs.
- The Angels are 1-6 in their past seven Thursday games.
- The Angels are 4-11 in their past 15 against the AL West.
- The Astros have won seven of Miley’s past eight road starts.
- The Astros have won 23 of the last 32 meetings in Anaheim.
- The over is 5-0 in Miley’s past five starts.
- The over is 4-0 in the teams’ past four meetings.
It’s a typical evening in Southern California, with the temperature at 81 degrees at first pitch.
I really don’t want to pick either of these teams. Miley has been a raging dumpster fire as of late, and there’s a load of questions with the Angels’ motivation as well as their starting pitching situation. The Angels do potentially have something to play for if they care about their record, as they need two wins in their final four games to avoid losing 90 games for the first time since 1999. Meanwhile, the Astros don’t need to do that much down the stretch. They’re down to one win to go to clinch the best record in baseball thanks to the Yankees losing on Wednesday.
Miley’s disastrous performances as of late should have the Angels thinking that this is the time to get one of those two victories to avoid putting a 90 in the loss column, and I think Los Angeles will be up for this game as a result. Give me the Angels.
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