Houston Astros (-138, 7.5 o/u) at Oakland A’s (+128)
After getting swept by the Rangers, the Houston Astros (60-49, 22-31 Away) head to the Bay Area tonight to face the Oakland Athletics (48-61, 24-33 Home) in the first of a four-game set (10:05 PM Eastern).
Houston had won five of their last six games before dropping three straight to Texas. The Astros are still eleven games over .500, though, and have a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
Early errors cost the team in the finale against the Rangers, with pitcher Scott Kazmir and catcher Hank Conger both bungling routine plays in the first inning, allowing Texas to put up a three spot.
“It all started with me. It did. I didn’t set the tone well. It was an easy play right in front of me, and I just rushed it,” said Astros pitcher Scott Kazmir to the Associated Press. “A couple errors early on against a team like that gave `em momentum. It’s tough.”
Right-hander Scott Feldman (4-5, 4.58 ERA) is scheduled to start this evening; Feldman has two straight no-decisions but the team has lost his last three starts. He allowed seven hits and three runs in 5.1 innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks last time out.
Oakland is bringing up the rear in the AL West, sitting 12 games behind Houston in the standings. The A’s lost two of three against the Orioles, including a 7-3 loss in extras last night.
“We had some situational at bats where we didn’t get it done,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said to the AP. “There were three or four where we had a man on second and nobody out, and we don’t get him over to third and we don’t get him in. Usually in close games those will come back and bite you.”
Melvin will send right-hander Aaron Brooks (1-0, 3.09 ERA) to the hill tonight; Brooks won his only start this season, going 7.1 innings, and allowing five hits and one run in a 5-1 win against the Cleveland Indians earlier this month.
The Astros are third in the majors in runs and fifth in slugging; after being held to three runs in the last two games, expect them to put up some crooked numbers tonight against the lowly Athletics squad and their inexperienced pitcher.
Pick: Astros (-138).
(Photo credit: EricEnfermero (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)