Angels vs. Astros Pick – MLB April 18th

The LA Angels look to make it three straight wins and two in a row against the Houston Astros with a win tonight. The offense was stagnant initially to get the season started, but the last two games we’ve seen them get back on track behind MVP Mike Trout. Who knows what is going to happen with the Josh Hamilton fiasco, but I think the Angels will be fully capable without his services in the lineup. More important to the Angels is Trout who has to stay healthy for success of the team. Additionally, pitcher CJ Wilson has to enter ace status this season. There are several scenarios and ‘ifs’ I look at for every team in the majors. For the Angels, obviously Trout staying healthy is a big one, but another is getting CJ Wilson on track this season. Last year was a season to forget for Wilson, who pretty well had the worst since his rookie campaign in 2005. There is the untouchable CJ Wilson who can’t do no wrong, and then there is the CJ Wilson who can’t get an out to save his life. Both of those situations have played out already, where he only allowed 2 hits in a no run effort against the Mariners in his opener, but then got banged for 6 runs against the Royals. Which Wilson will we get today?

He’ll be competing today against a breakout start, and bright spot in the Astros otherwise disaster of a season, pitcher Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel mowed down batters last season and is looking to make sure that wasn’t a fluke. He ended the 2014 season with an ERA of 2.92 and 12 win 9 loss season. There should have been more wins, but playing on a team with such a dismal offense doesn’t help matters much. A win today against the Angels would be a big way to continue his coming out party. The Angels’ bats seem to be waking up so we’ll see who ends up winning out Saturday.

L.A. Angels at Houston Astros

C.J. Wilson (1-1, 3.95 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (1-0, 1.29 ERA)

You would think this is a no brainer pick. Taking Keuchel and his superior ERA looks like the logical choice, but if only it was that easy. And especially backing the Astros offense can be particularly troublesome. Next year or two from now I think we are going to see a different offense from the Astros. Even this season they should be better than what we saw last year, but as it is, they are lacking considerably at the plate. CJ Wilson has a high ERA due to his last start, but he looked excellent on the road against the Seahawks with only 2 hits allowed to his credit. Further, his WHIP has stayed low at 0.95, compared to Keuchel’s WHIP of 1.29. The Astros are hitting only .205 on the season, so if that is any indication they might be the worst offense in MLB again.

The Angels’ offense has been on point the last two games, and their leader Mike Trout, looked great last night demolishing the ball for 2 dingers on the night. LA has now scored 16 runs in their last two games and 24 in the last four games. I give the slight nod to Keuchel in the pitching department. I however give a big nod to the Angels’ offense in this game. The Angels should be able to make it three wins in a row, and so we hope, as I am going to make my Saturday pick on the Angels at + money.