Jesus Luzardo (2-1, 3.74 ERA) vs. Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.35 ERA)
The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros will reemerge on Sunday at Minute Maid Park to wrap up a three-game series in Houston. There was a double-header yesterday, with the Astros winning back-to-back games by a score of 4-2 and 6-3.
The Athletics couldn’t get their offense going against Lance McCullers Jr. and Zack Greinke yesterday. They were able to pick up 3 runs against Greinke through 5 innings, but 1 run in three seperate innings wasn’t enough. McCullers was the better of the two, as he went 6 innings with just 1 earned run allowed.
The Astros need to play catch up after getting behind the Athletics in the AL West. Yesterday was a good start for the ‘Stros. They won both games and cut the A’s lead down to 2.5. The Athletics are still up, though, with a record of 22-12 as opposed to 19-14 for the Astros. If the Astros can find some confidence, the Athletics are going to have to worry about what’s behind them. Houston wasn’t playing with much confidence earlier on this season.
Getting Justin Verlander back in the rotation would certainly help as well. Verlander recently went through a pitching session and he said he feels pretty good. JV isn’t on the verge of returning this week, but it’s possible they will have him back for the final stretch of the regular season.
The emergence of Framber Valdez has been a major positive for the Astros in the absence of Verlander. Valdez has developed into the No. 1 option for the Astros in Houston. They just need McCullers to get on a roll and they will be in good form for when Verlander hopefully returns to the rotation.
Valdez will be called on Sunday against the A’s in the series finale. Highly touted prospect, Jesus Luzardo, is expected to be in the saddle for Oakland. Head below for our free Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros pick for August 30, 2020.
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Framber Valdez might be a slight outsider for the American League Cy Young, but don’t count him out just yet. Valdez enters Sunday with an ERA of 2.35 and 1.10 WHIP. He’s appeared to work really hard in the offseason to get better at his craft.
Valdez was a disappointment in his first full season in the major leagues. He ended the 2019 campaign with a 5.86 ERA and 1.67 WHIP. Most of his work came out of the bullpen, with eight starts and 18 appearances as a reliever.
Valdez has reinvented himself in his third season as a major leaguer. He showed flashes of greatness in 2018, with a 2.19 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in his first taste of the majors. Valdez allowed that to get to his head in the offseason, because he came back with nothing the following season.
With experience comes maturity, though, and it looks like Valdez is in a good spot now. Verlander’s absence has sent him to the top of the rotation. He’s been capable in 36 at-bats against the A’s in his career. The A’s are hitting .222 with just 2 runs against Valdez.
Jesus Luzardo has been hit and miss as a rookie, but is ultimately expected to develop into the next ace in Oakland. They have been good at churning pitching talent out, but don’t like to overpay when it’s time to pay up.
If Luzardo pans out correctly, he will probably be involved in a trade or signed by a big market team that will pay for his services. Luzardo still has a lot to learn, despite signs of brilliance from him.
He heads into Sunday with an ERA of 3.74 and 1.37 WHIP.Luzardo has been far worse on the road than at home. He has a 1.90 ERA and 1.10 WHIP through 23.2 innings of work in Oakland, though his numbers take a dive on the road.
Luzardo has notched a 8.10 ERA and 2.00 WHIP in two starts. Teams are hitting .356 versus Luzardo on the road. He likely won’t be that bad today, and a competitive battle should occur. However, I think the ‘Stros will have a little more in them to get the sweep on Sunday.