Oakland A’s (+116) at Houston Astros (-126, 8 o/u)
A pitchers’ duel is on tap tonight as Rich Hill and the Oakland A’s (36-49, 19-23 Away) visit Doug Fister and the Houston Astros (46-39, 26-17 Home) in the first of a three-game set at Minute Maid Park (8:10 PM Eastern).
The A’s haven’t been playing well lately, losing six of their last seven against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins. Hill has been solid all season, though, posting an 8-3 record with a 2.31 ERA in 12 starts.
After spending a month on the DL with a groin injury, he made his return last Saturday against the Pirates, taking a no-decision after going six strong, giving up four hits and two runs and striking out six..
Before landing on the DL, Hill had won five straight, averaging six innings per outing and just 1.4 runs against.
On the other side, the Houston Astros continue their climb up the AL standings after a dreadful start. They now sit second in the AL West, 6.5 games behind the Texas Rangers. They’re just half a game back in the Wild Card race, though; they’ve narrowed the gap on Toronto and Boston thanks to winning seven of their last nine, including a sweep of the Mariners in their last series.
The ‘Stros will counter Hill with the veteran Fister, who’s making his 17th start of the season. Fister is 8-5 on the year with a decent 3.66 ERA, but he’s 0-2 in his last two starts, setbacks against the Royals and White Sox. He’d won four straight prior.
Keep in mind Oakland is 1-4 SU in its last five games when playing Houston and 0-5 SU in its last five games when playing on the road against Houston.
Pick: Houston (-126).
(Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr [CC BY 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)