A showdown in the AL West takes the ESPN spotlight on Monday night when the Los Angeles Angels visit the Houston Astros in the opener of a three-game set. Just over six weeks into the 2021 campaign the division foes will be hooking up for the seventh time and the fifth time in Houston in the past two weeks. The Astros took three of four toward the end of April outscoring the Halos 31-10. The teams split a pair of games at the Big A during the opening week of the season.
The contest between AL West rivals takes place on Monday, May 10, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET from Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. The game will air live on ESPN.
Angels vs Houston Astros Odds
Money Line: Angels +137 | Houston Astros -146
Season So Far
It was an eventful last week for the Angels who will attempt to put that behind them when they tussle with a team that’s given them fits over the last few seasons. Nine days ago they were one game over .500, which doesn’t sound like a big deal but actually is for a team trying to stay relevant in the tough AL West. The Angels were swept in a four-game series by Tampa Bay extending their losing streak to five and they released future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols. They regained a shred of dignity by taking two of three from the Dodgers over the weekend, but they are last in the division at 15-18 putting them down 350 units on the moneyline.
Mike Trout is doing Mike Trout-like things and the Angels have gotten contributions on offense from Shohei Ohtani and Jared Walsh, making the decision to release Pujols a little easier. Pujols didn’t help his case hitting just .198 with an OPS 80 points below the league average. In fact he hadn’t hit higher than .245 in any of the previous four seasons. And the offense certainly hasn’t sagged with the second-highest team batting average in the majors at .260. The Halos average 4.76 runs with the OVER going 7-3 in their last 10 games.
The Astros are having more success than the Angels this season due to a stronger pitching staff. Both teams are closely matched in offensive production with Houston also boasting a .260 team average while scoring just over five runs per game. They shrugged off a three-game slide by winning three of their last four with run line covers in all three victories. And while there have been significant changes to the roster with the club still in the shadows of its sign-stealing scandal, the usual suspects are pacing the offense. Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman are all hitting over .310 with a combined 16 home runs.
This would have been the spot in the rotation for Alex Cobb. However, a hand injury landed the righty on the IL recently leaving Joe Maddon to shuffle his pitchers. The Angels have been using a six-man rotation so there’s a chance Ohtani gets the nod since his normal spot would be on Tuesday. The club said they aren’t interested in getting Ohtani a high volume of starts.
Instead we are likely to see a bullpen game, and that could be problematic since Maddon has been liberal with the use of his relievers. After Jose Quintana lasted only 4.0 innings in Sunday’s win over the Dodgers, five relievers combined to toss two-hit shutout ball over the final five frames. Whoever takes the bump for the Halos will be greeted by a lineup that has produced 41 runs in the first six meetings for an average of 6.8 per game.
The Astros will counter with right hander Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA), who makes his third straight start and fifth overall after bouncing between the rotation and bullpen earlier in the campaign. He is 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA as a starter allowing two runs on four hits with three walks in 3.1 innings in a no-decision against the Angels on April 5. He also yielded two hits and run in 1.2 innings of relief against the Halos on April 25.
Garcia hasn’t gotten a lot of support from his mates over his last three starts. The Astros totaled five runs in those games and were blanked by Seattle on Apr. 29 when Garcia had his best outing. One of the three hits he allowed in his 5.0 innings was a solo homer by Taylor Trammell that proved to be the difference in the 1-0 setback. The Astros have lost all seven games Garcia has pitched in and they are down 469 units on the moneyline in his four starts.
Angels vs Houston Astros Predictions
Our picks: Houston Astros -146 and OVER 8.5
The Angels were in the heart of Texas just a few weeks ago and were rocked in the first three games of that four-game set getting outscored 29-8 with the OVER going 3-0. I think the Angels can move on now that they’re rid of Pujols and his albatross contract; I just don’t know how they’re going to navigate this game. The pen has been up and down all season and the Astros are ready to jump on whoever takes the hill.