Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Preview and Pick

Houston Astros (52-65) +100, o/u 7 at Los Angeles Dodgers (60-57), 10:10 pm Eastern Monday, ESPN2
by Predictem.com Staff

A couple of old National League West rivals hook up when the Houston Astros visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for the opener of a four-game series Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Houston, on one hand, is trying to climb into the playoff hunt; the Astros are 6-5 this month, which has them in fourth place in the NL Central, 9 games behind the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers. Houston also sits 11 games back of the San Diego Padres in the NL wild-card race.

Los Angeles, on the other hand, is trying to stay in the hunt; the Dodgers are 3-8 this month and 7-17 over their last 24 games, which has dropped them into fourth place in the NL West, six games back of the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks. But L.A. is only three games behind San Diego for the wild-card.

Houston is a miserable 20-38 on the road this year, while the Dodgers are 30-29 at home.

The Astros took two of three games from L.A. when these two teams met for the only time so far this season three weeks ago in Houston. Last year these two teams split six games.

Roy Oswalt (12-6, 3.42) is slated to start for the Astros Monday night, while Chad Billingsley (7-3, 3.34) will go for the Dodgers. The Big O has been very good as of late, winning his last four starts and allowing just two ER over his last 25 IP. Houston is a winning 15-10 in Oswalt’s starts this season, the o/u 13-11.

Somewhat strangely, Oswalt hasn’t started a game vs. the Dodgers since August of 2005.

Billingsley has lost two 1-0 games in a row, allowing two ER and 17 baserunners (hits + walks) in 12 2/3 innings of work. Los Angeles is 6-4 in Billingsley’s starts this year, the o/u 6-3.

Billingsley has started one game vs. the Astros in his short career, going the distance and allowing just two ER in a 10-2 Dodgers win three weeks ago.

Houston ranks 21st in the majors this season with its .327 team OBP, and is averaging 4.5 runs per game.

Los Angeles owns a .336 team OBP this season and is averaging 4.4 RPG. But the Dodgers have scored a grand total of just 19 runs in their last 10 games, and seven of those runs came in an 8-7 loss to Arizona.

The Astros bullpen has been like gasoline lately, giving up 12 ER and 30 baserunners over its last 15 2/3 IP.

The Dodgers pen has allowed seven ER and 25 baserunners in its last 17 1/3 innings of work.

Despite their past reputations as all-pitching, no-hitting teams, the o/u is a combined 124-101 in Houston and Los Angeles games this season. Also, the o/u is 34-22 at Dodger Stadium this year.

The Predictem.com Pick: Take the Houston Astros at -110.