The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros will get a three-game series started on Thursday night at Minute Maid Park. The Athletics are coming off a 4-3 win to avoid getting swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jesus Luzardo came through with a big performance on the bump to prevent the Dodgers from recording a three-game sweep. Luzardo pitched 5.1 strong innings with 2 earned runs allowed.
It could have been better, though, as the Dodgers left a lot of runs on the bases. Luzardo conceded 5 hits and 4 walks, so it’s not like the Dodgers didn’t have their chances. That was the first win for the A’s this season. It was nice to get their first win out of the way. You know when you’re on a losing streak with your picks, and you can’t find a win no matter what you do then you finally win? It’s a big sigh of relief and loosen up a bit.
We’ll see if the Athletics don’t feel so stiff at the plate after getting that win out of the way. It’s a bad start to the season for the Athletics, but the good news is that early season results sometimes don’t matter by the end of the regular season. Countless times we’ve seen teams get off to fast starts and collapse. Conversely, the opposite has happened with slow starters getting hot in August and September.
A 1-6 start isn’t anything to worry about for Athletics’ fans. If this carries on towards the end of April, then their hole is going to begin to get a little too big, though. They’re not going to keep touch with the Astros if that’s the case. Oakland won the AL West with a record of 36-24 last season. They only needed to get hot for 60 games, and that’s what they did to leave the Astros seven games back. Good luck doing it in a full campaign in 2021.
The Astros are off to a quick start, as they head into Thursday night with a record of 5-1. They have a game advantage on the Angels for the early lead. The ‘Stros are coming off a 4-2 win against the Angels on Tuesday. They took a split in that short two-game series against the Angels. A tight 7-6 loss on Monday, and then they responded in fine form behind a strong performance from Zack Greinke. Greinke went 7 innings with 5 hits and 2 earned runs allowed to help keep the game tight. The Astros added 2 runs in the top of the 9th to put the game away. Head below for our free Athletics vs. Astros pick on April 8, 2021.
Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros MLB Betting Odds:
Athletics vs. Astros Prediction:
The Athletics are expected to send 27-year-old Cole Irvin to the bump on Thursday night in Houston. He opened the season against the Astros and didn’t have a good 2021 debut. Irvin was rocked for 7 hits and 4 earned runs through 4.1 innings of work. He left the game with a dismal ERA of 8.31. It absolutely isn’t how he wanted to start his career with the Athletics. This is a big year for Irvin after he failed to impress the Philadelphia Phillies.
Irvin spent two years in the majors with the Phillies, and he posted an ERA of 5.83 and 1.39 WHIP through 16 appearances in 2019, and then completely bombed during the shortened Covid season last season. Irvin was rocked for a 17.18 ERA and 3.27 WHIP in three games. He conceded 11 hits and 7 earned runs through 3.2 innings of work. Teams were hitting a whopping .524 against Cole.
The A’s were hoping that a change of scenery would help Cole. In spring training, it looked like Cole was going in the right direction. He was strong with a 1.00 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in three starts and two appearances out of the bullpen to make the starting rotation. It might be a mental thing for Cole, because he certainly looked like the same pitcher we saw last season in his 2021 regular season debut.
The Astros have an impressive .483 OBP against Irvin in 19 at-bats. They are reaching base nearly 50% of the time against Cole. Cristian Javier got off to a relatively slow start in his start this season. That came against the Athletics in a 9-5 win. Javier allowed 3 hits and 2 earned runs across 3.2 innings for a 4.91 ERA.
The Astros needed him to step up big in the absence of Justin Verlander last season, and the rookie did the job nicely. He posted an ERA of 3.48 and 0.99 WHIP through 54.3 innings of work. Javier gave up just 1 hit across 3 innings in spring training. Despite the slow start in his opener, I have more faith in Javier bouncing back than Cole. Give me the Astros. They should probably be -160 in this game on the moneyline.