The Houston Astros and Oakland A’s square off on Friday with first pitch set for 9:40 p.m. ET. The game takes place at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, CA and will only be available on local TV or through an MLB.tv subscription. The Astros will send right-hander Jose Urquidy to the mound while Paul Blackburn will take the mound for the A’s.
The Astros (54-28) are 9-1 in their past 10 games and have opened up a 13-game lead in the American League West. MVP candidate Yordan Alvarez is slashing 395/.485/.833 with 14 HRs and 34 RBIs in his previous 32 games. Outfielder Kyle Tucker has blasted eight homers and driven in 29 runs over his past 28 games. Opposing batters were hitting well above .300 against Urquidy into June. But over his past three starts, the right-hander has given up no more than one run in each and a total of seven hits across 19 innings.
The A’s (28-56) have the worst record in MLB. They are a half-game “in front” of Cincinnati for that title. And yet, they have been kind of frisky of late, winning three of six games against a couple of playoff contenders, the Mariners and Blue Jays. Outfielder Ramon Laureano may be upping his trade value as he has four homers and a 1.153 OPS over his previous eight games. Laureano has reached base safely in five of 10 career plate appearances versus Urquidy.
Astros vs. A’s
Pitchers: Jose Urquidy vs. Paul Blackburn
First pitch: 9:40 p.m. ET
Astros local broadcast: AT&T SportsNet Southwest
A’s local broadcast: NBC Sports California
Live stream: MLB.tv (subscription)
Odds, picks & predictions
Run Line: Astros -1.5 (-105)
Run total: 7.5
Moneyline odds: Astros -180, A’s +155
Moneyline pick: Astros -180
The Astros have won 17 of their past 21 games. They swept the A’s in Oakland about six weeks ago. Houston has won two-thirds of its games against AL West teams. Houston has won five straight over Oakland. And none of this speaks directly to the vast talent disparity between these two clubs. The Astros should romp by the bay.
Player prop pick: Yordan Alvarez OVER 1.5 total bases (-110)
Yordan has been on an extra-base binge lately, picking up an XBH in each of his past five games (two doubles, three homers). Expect Alvarez to keep slugging, even against Blackburn, who leads the A’s with six wins and a 2.90 ERA.
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