Houston Astros vs Oakland A’s

Houston Astros vs Oakland A’s | MLB Betting Analysis

Written by on May 18, 2021

The Houston Astros opened the 2021 regular-season with a shockingly one-sided four-game sweep of the A’s in Oakland. The two AL West rivals meet back there again Tuesday to open another series. The A’s are short favorites on the MLB odds.

How to Bet Astros at A’s MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Tuesday, 9:40 PM ET
  • Where: Oakland Coliseum
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Cristian Javier/Sean Manaea
  • TV: MLB Extra Innings

Why Bet on Houston? | MLB Betting Analysis

Houston enters on a six-game winning streak after sweeping four at home vs. Texas over the weekend. The Astros worked 24 walks against Rangers pitching across the four-game sweep. They had nine or more hits in every game.

“Like I’ve been saying all year, you are trying to put as much distance between you and .500 as possible,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said of the winning streak and 8-2 homestand. “We needed a good homestand and it was in our division, so that combination of things, it was key for us to win.”

However, the team is dealing with a gaping hole in center field. Through 150 plate appearances, Straw is slashing .214/.295/.260. That’s worth a wRC+ of 68 that’s the 20th-worst in baseball among qualified hitters. The lack of contribution offensively is disappointing after a strong spring showing.

He also has disappointed in the field.  According to Statcast’s Outs Above Average (OAA), his defense is 32nd percentile. Per Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and Defensive Runs Saved (DRS), he is below-average. Baseball Prospectus’s Fielding Runs Above Average (FRAA) ranks Straw’s defense 26th among center fielders.

It’s Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08) on the mound. Javier recorded six strikeouts over seven innings last Thursday in a no-decision against the Rangers. Javier was charged with three runs on four hits as a leadoff homer by Willie Calhoun, a Jose Trevino sacrifice fly and Joey Gallo RBI ground out were responsible for all of the damage against him in this one. He generated 12 swinging strikes and finished with an underwhelming 25 percent CSW (called strikes plus whiffs).

Outside of Zack Greinke, there arguably wasn’t a better starter for the Astros in the season’s first month than Cristian Javier. In his first 20 2⁄3 innings across four starts, the 24-year-old only allowed two earned runs and posted a 32.9 percent strikeout rate.

Javier has had a rough May thus far. In three starts, he has allowed 11 earned runs across 17 1/3 innings (5.71 ERA). Strikeouts are trending down while walks are going up. Javier has allowed 23 base hits thus far in 2021 and 16 of those hits have occurred via a four-seam fastball.

He has allowed two runs over 8.2 innings in two starts this year vs. Oakland.

Why Bet on Oakland? | MLB Betting Analysis

The A’s won two of three at the Twins over the weekend. Matt Chapman went 3-for-4 with three RBI in Sunday’s 7-6 win over Minnesota. The slugging third baseman has just two multi-hit games this month, both coming in his last seven appearances. Chapman is slashing .225/.327/.387 with 18 RBI through 42 games. First baseman/DH Mitch Moreland remained out of the lineup Sunday, with a side injury but manager Bob Melvin said Moreland was feeling “a little better.”

Jed Lowrie had produced a .296/.3367/.507 batting line over the first three weeks of the season, hitting three homers and six doubles. Second base, which had been a major question mark entering the season, was suddenly solidified by one of the unlikeliest sources. However, Lowrie has begun to slow down, with a .219/.286/.297 batting line since April 24. He has just five doubles in those 70 plate appearances, drawing six walks while striking out 17 times.

It’s lefty Sean Manaea (3-2, 4.40) on the mound here. Manaea was torched for a season-high seven runs over two innings last Thursday in a loss to the Red Sox. Manaea coughed up a whopping 10 hits, including two-run homers to Xander Bogaerts and Bobby Dalbec in the first and second innings, respectively. He was lifted after throwing just 47 pitches, when he faced a trio of batters and failed to record an out to open the third inning. The 29-year-old southpaw has been solid overall, despite the disastrous outing in Fenway Park, allowing two earned runs or fewer in five of his eight starts to open the 2021 campaign.

Manaea fared well in his last start against Houston on April 9, limiting the Astros to one run over six innings. He is 3-6 with a 3.50 ERA in 15 career starts against the Astros, including 70 strikeouts and 25 walks in 82.1 innings pitched. Manaea has faced Houston twice this season, and is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA including eight strikeouts and four walks in 10.2 innings pitched. He is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA at the Coliseum this season, including 33 strikeouts and five walks.

Expert Prediction

  • A’s 5, Astros 4
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