Luis Garcia (0-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. Jesus Luzardo (2-2, 4.23 ERA)
The Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics will play a full 9 inning contest on Wednesday after a double-header on Tuesday. They split with the Athletics winning 4-2 in the first game, and the ‘Stros responding 5-4 in the nightcap. The Athletics got the series started with a 6-0 victory on Monday. After playing the little brother role for the past several years, the Athletics have to be feeling good about where they are this season.
They’re up 4.5 games on the Astros and are in complete control at the moment. The Astros’ rotation is likely too banged up to erase that deficit. Justin Verlander recently started pitching off a mound again, but his timetable to a return is not clear. And to make matters worse, Lance McCullers Jr. was recently placed on the IL. That leaves Zack Greinke as the most dependable arm in their rotation.
Framber Valdez has been showing signs of regression lately. That can’t continue in September for Valdez. If the Astros are going to have a shot, they need a couple of pitchers to step up and help Greinke out. One of those guys could be 23-year-old Luis Garcia, who is scheduled to get the nod for the Astros tonight in Oakland.
Houston is keeping their fingers crossed with Garcia, but I don’t think they know what they’re going to get exactly. The Athletics think they have something special in Jesus Luzardo, though he is taking his lumps as a rookie hurler in the majors in 2020. That’s not to say that Luzardo has been bad, but he is expected to be a better pitcher than his 4.23 ERA indicates.
After he gets some experience under his belt, expect Luzardo to develop into a really talented pitcher. Luzardo is the top prospect in the A’s prospect, which begs the question whether he’ll still be in Oakland after he reaches his full potential. Sonny Gray would probably have a wager on no. Garcia and Luzardo are expected to get the nod on Wednesday night. Head below for our free Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics pick for September 9, 2020.
Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics MLB Betting Odds:
Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics Prediction:
Luis Garcia made the jump from Single-A ball to the major leagues. He hasn’t played in Double-A or Triple-A. That’s quite the promotion for a guy who didn’t expect to see the hill as a starter in 2020. However, due to injuries, the Astros are rolling the dice on Garcia who made his debut against the Angels as a reliever recently. Garcia was on point, as he went 4.1 innings with only 1 hit and 1 earned run conceded. A solo home run was the only run that the Angels were able to put on the board against Garcia.
Prior to jumping up to the majors, Garcia recorded an ERA of 2.98 between High-A and Low-A ball in 2019. While Garcia was impressive in his major league debut, pitching as a starter can be a totally different animal. It’s a totally different mindset from pitching as a reliever. That said, Garcia has talent and the ‘Stros are high on the 23-year-old from Venezuela. Note that Garcia will likely be on a pitch count, so the Athletics should be able to see the bullpen relatively early on Wednesday night. Luzardo has struggled in his last two starts after a pretty efficient start for the rookie in his career.
Luzardo has allowed 7 earned runs in his last 11.1 innings of work. He was tagged for 6 hits and 4 earned runs in his most recent showing last week against the San Diego Padres. Luzardo has allowed at least 3 earned runs in three out of his previous four outings, with a total of 13 earned runs through 14.2 innings in those three games. Luzardo saw the ‘Stros on August 9 and was fortunate to get out of that one with just 2 earned runs conceded. Houston recorded 5 hits and 2 walks against Luzardo through 5.2 innings in a 7-2 loss. I think we will see just enough runs in this one to put it OVER the total.