The Oakland Athletics will host the Houston Astros for the series opener of a very important three game series on Friday night. The Athletics and Astros are competing for the top spot in the division with the hope of avoiding the dangerous Wild-Card game. The Astros are the defending World Series champions.
The Astros looked to be in great shape to repeat as AL West champions, but injuries have derailed them a little bit. Oakland meanwhile has been on a tremendous run of late and are now just two games behind the Astros in the division. This should be an extremely competitive and entertaining series. The Houston Astros are -137 over the A’s on Friday night.
Astros Pitching Still Best in Baseball
The Houston Astros have had the best starting rotation in baseball this season, and Charlie Morton is a big reason why. Morton will make the start for Houston on Friday night, hoping to give the Astros a strong performance in the series opener. Morton is 12-3 with a very solid 2.88 earned run average through 23 starts this season. He struggled against the A’s in early July, going just 4 ⅓ innings while giving up three earned runs.
With several key Astros starters missing time due to injury, Evan Gattis has stepped up to provide some offense. The veteran catcher belted two homers on Wednesday night against the Rockies to help Houston end a brief five game losing streak. Gattis leads the team with 23 home runs this season. Look for the Astros offense to start producing more runs now that they are starting to get healthy again.
Oakland Offense Coming Alive
The Oakland Athletics feature one of the most potent lineups in baseball thanks to Khris Davis and Matt Chapman. Khris Davis ranks near the top in the American League in both home runs and runs batted in with 34 and 93 respectively. Chapman has been an on base machine for the Athletics, getting on base at a .367 percentage. The A’s offense looks to stay hot against a very tough pitcher in Charlie Morton.
Veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson is having a tremendous comeback year for the Oakland Athletics. The journeyman is 4-2 with a 2.48 earned run average in nine starts for the A’s after failing to make an MLB team for a short span. Jackson has not faced the Astros this season and will be in for a tough task on Friday night.
Morton Leads ‘Stros to Victory
The Oakland Athletics could be in first place by Sunday if they complete the sweep. The A’s have been one of the best stories in baseball in 2018, but the Astros won’t relinquish the crown that easily. The A’s have the offense to get the job done, but this will be the toughest start yet for Jackson.
Look for the Astros to come into this series and play terrific baseball. Houston was devastated by injuries in July, but are starting to get healthy at the right time. Charlie Morton has been great all season and that will continue on Friday night. Bet the Houston Astros -137 over the A’s in the series opener.