The Houston Astros (1-0, 1-0 away) and Oakland Athletics (0-1, 0-1 home) continue their season-opening series with game two of a four-game series. Houston took the opener, defeating the Athletics, 8-1.
The First pitch is at 9:40 pm EST inside Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, CA. Oakland is favored (-135) on the moneyline against the Astros, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Houston Astros
Houston finished the shorted 2020 season with a 29-31 record, finishing second in the AL West. Even though the Astros only made the playoffs because of the expanded format, Houston was one game short of another World Series.
Cristian Javier takes the mound for his season debut for the Astros. The 24-year old right-hander went 5-2 over his rookie season last year with a 3.48 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. Javier tossed three innings in spring training, allowing one hit, two walks, two strikeouts, and no earned runs.
Veteran outfielder Michael Brantley put together an excellent start to the season, going 3-of-4 at the plate, including a solo home run in the 8th. Third baseman Alex Bregman also added a home run in the opener and ended the contest 2-of-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
The Astros were picked by many to win the AL West and keep away the retooling of the Los Angeles Angels and the A’s. Houston’s depth at both offense and the pitching staff will provide the Astros with the necessary pieces to make a deep postseason run.
What to Know – Oakland Athletics
The Athletics wrapped up the 2020 regular season with their first division title since 2003. The A’s should again be in the AL West mix and a spot in the 2021 postseason. Oakland is in prime position to make another postseason run even with one of the lower payrolls in the MLB.
Left-hander Jesus Luzardo toes the rubber for the host in game two. The 23-year old concluded the short 2020 season with a 3-2 record in nine starts, striking out 59 in 59.0 innings pitched. Luzardo had a 1-1 record in three starts this spring, ending with a 4.22 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.
Oakland was unable to get much from its offense, with just four hits recorded in the game. The Athletics got a pair of hits from Ramon Laureano, and only two other extra-base hits in the outing.
The Athletics could not take advantage of a pair of Astros’ errors and capitalize and turn those mistakes into runs. Oakland’s one run came in the seventh inning, and the A’s didn’t look like themselves offensively.
The Pick is In
Friday’s matchup pits a pair of young starters against each other. Oakland struggled at the plate Thursday night, plating only one run.
The middle of Houston’s lineup is one of the best in the majors and will cause problems for opponents all season. Expect this game to be a bit more high-scorer, but the Astros improve to 2-0 heading into the weekend.
The Pick: Houston Astros ML +128