Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros Pick 9/12/19
Oakland Athletics (86-60) vs. Houston Astros (95-52)
When: 8 p.m., Wednesday, September 12
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston
Moneyline: OAK +220/HOU -260 (Sportsbetting.ag)
Runline: Athletics +1.5/Astros -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Homer Bailey (12-8, 4.87 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) vs. Justin Verlander (18-5, 2.52 ERA, 0.77 WHIP)
These teams can’t really do much to stop each other at the moment. During the first three games of this series, the Athletics have outscored the Astros 26 to 25, with the 5-3 game they played Wednesday “counting” as a defensive stand for this matchup. In two of these three games, the game has been over before it started, as the Athletics scored seven runs in the first inning Wednesday and the Astros hit six home runs in the first two innings on Tuesday to set a major league record.
It’s hardly a surprise for either team in this record-breaking season for the offense: the Astros rank third in runs scored in the American League with 839 and the Athletics are fifth in runs scored at 770.
Keeping It Rolling
But if anyone can put a stop to the Ruthian numbers, it figures to be Justin Verlander. Verlander has already tossed a no-hitter this year against Toronto, and his follow-up performance against Seattle made it clear that he has no intention of resting on his past success as he tries to chase down another World Series ring.
That’s especially true this season because this might be Verlander’s best shot at adding a second World Series title to the one he won in 2017. Although the 36-year-old signed a two-year extension that will keep him in Houston until 2021, the continued dominance of the Yankees and the unexpected rise of the Twins have made it clear that while the Astros’ championship window will remain open for a few more years, they’re going to have fierce competition moving forward.
With two other ace-type pitchers in the fold, Houston has its best shot right now, and Verlander looks determined not to waste it. Seven of his past ten starts have gone in his personal win column, and in the one game he lost, he went the distance against Detroit, but got next to nothing in run support and took the setback.
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Homer Bailey really can’t be faulted for how things have gone in his past five starts. Three of actually turned out quite well for him, as he pitched well, gave his team a chance to win and did emerge as the winning pitcher. But in his past two starts, he’d be forgiven for wondering if he’d reverted back to his days in Kansas City.
Against the Yankees, Bailey made just two mistakes, a pair of solo home runs, as he took a no-decision and the Athletics lost 4-3. Against the Tigers, Bailey was even better, making just one mistake on a two-run home run and leaving the game with a 4-2 lead. The Athletics’ bullpen blew the game, and the normally-punchless Tigers emerged with a 5-4 victory.
Despite his team’s struggles, Bailey is pitching very well at the moment, showing the form that made him one of the top pitchers in Cincinnati for more than a decade. In his past five starts, all but one of the runs he’s allowed has come via the home run. Meaning that if he keeps the ball in the park, it’s likely that his team’s going to get a result.
This game is the final one of the season between the AL West foes, and honestly, Houston is probably happier for that than Oakland, even though the Astros own the edge on the season series. Although overall the Astros are 11-7 against the Athletics this year, Oakland has won six of the past nine matchups with Houston to pull close in the series after a 1-8 start to the year.
- The Athletics have won 10 of their past 12 vs. the AL West.
- The Athletics are 0-4 in Bailey’s past four starts after scoring five runs or more in the previous game.
- The Astros are 5-1 in Verlander’s past six home starts.
- The Astros are 5-1 in their past six games that followed a loss.
- The under is 4-0-1 in Bailey’s past five starts against teams above .500.
- The under is 5-0 in Verlander’s past five starts against the AL West.
Weather ReportWith the mercury pushing 93 degrees in Houston, expect the Astros to close the roof of Minute Maid Park.
Dan’s pickBailey is pitching well, but Verlander is pitching better and has simply owned the Athletics. In his past six starts against Oakland, the Astros are 5-1. That’s an encouraging sign. The other sign that leads me to shy away from Bailey is the fact that even though he’s pitching well right now, he got absolutely shelled the last time he faced off with the Astros in Houston. In that game, Bailey gave up nine earned runs and didn’t make it to the third inning of an 11-1 laugher. That brings me to a third point: these teams do not tend to play close games. Of their 18 meetings this year, 11 have been decided by at least two runs, and seven of the 18 weren’t even a save situation going into the losing team’s turn at-bat in the ninth. And there’s one more factor to consider here. Verlander is sitting on 18 wins. Wins don’t mean what they used to, but winning 20 games is still a number that carries a lot of weight for a pitcher. Verlander has three starts at most to hit it, so he’s going to be motivated to have a sharp performance. Given that these teams tend not to play close battles give me the Astros on the run line.
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