The Houston Astros don’t just have to be concerned about catching the Texas Rangers for the AL West division title, they’ve got to be concerned about staving off a number of teams for the final Wildcard place, including division rival, the LA Angels.
They’ve won three of five since losing three of four in that pivotal clash with the Rangers last week. They are 1-1 through a three-game mini-series against the Angels, the game on Wednesday evening could hardly be more crucial with another three-game set against Texas at Minute Maid Park following immediately.
Mike Fiers is on the mound tonight and while his overall record isn’t all that impressive, he has distinguished himself with home field advantage this season. He’s pitched better and better as the season has gone on, earning a spot in this exceptionally strong rotation and giving up just 10 hits across three starts at Minute Maid.
Still, the Angels are in desperation mode and a few of the Astros previously dominant starting rotation have struggled under late season pressure. They’ll hope to spoil Fiers’ record on Wednesday after Mike Trout and Albert Pujols both homered in a clutch 4-3 win on Tuesday.
Nick Tropeano pitches for LA. It’s his sixth start of the season after picking up a first win since April when he filled in for Shoemaker on September 15. He’s still a young player learning his trade, he played for Houston during his rookie season, but this is still only his second start in Houston.
Three Reasons for Betting Tips
1. Home field advantage
They bounced back from losing to Texas with a series win over Oakland (despite losing the first game). Houston are not playing their best football, but they are not a team to be messed with when they have home field advantage. We think they’ll manage to steal another series win here to set up a fascinating contest against the Rangers.
2. Tropeano may struggle
He’s potentially a very good pitcher, but Tropeano will feel the pressure in this match-up against his former team and against a team that hits plenty of home runs.
3. Angels’ inconsistency
They were widely tipped to win this division in the preseason and the Angels have not done so because the consistency in hitting, pitching and defense has not been there.