Astros (Valdez) vs Athletics (Manaea) Game 2 Picks and Odds

Alex Bregman, Houston Astros

The Houston Astros scored 10 runs in their Game 1 win over Oakland, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five ALDS. Image from @Sportsnet (Twitter).

  • Houston won Game 1 of their AL Division Series with Oakland, 10-5
  • Framber Valdez starts Game 2 for the Astros while Sean Manaea goes for the Athletics
  • Game 2 takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 7th, at 4:37 pm ET from Dodger Stadium

The Astros and Athletics put on an offensive show on Monday.

The teams combined for six home runs, 15 runs, and 24 hits in the first game of their best-of-five ALDS, a 10-5 Astros win. None of their other 10 games in 2020 had seen combined total that high.

With Houston up 1-0, Oakland needs to act quickly during Game 2 (Tuesday, Oct. 7th, at 4:37 pm ET) on another hot afternoon at Dodger Stadium .

Astros vs Athletics Game 2 Odds

Team Moneyline Runline Total
Houston Astros -103 -1.5 (+160) Over 8.5 (-120)
Oakland Athletics -114 +1.5 (-195) Under 8.5 (-103)

Odds as of Oct 5th at DraftKings

At first glance, the total seemed generous heading into Game 1, but the two teams made quick work of that. Sportsbooks may be anticipating another high-scoring affair when you look at the Astros vs Athletics odds, bumping the total up to 8.5

The Astros came into Monday as an underdog. Now they’ve shown enough to be a slight favorite, with an opportunity to go up 2-0 on the A’s.

Top of the Order Comes Through for Astros

In the Game 1 preview, Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman, and Jose Altuve were firmly in the spotlight.

That trio, along with George Springer, came up huge in Game 1.

Astros Offensive Stars: Game 1

Player H/AB HR RBI Runs
George Springer 4/5 0 1 1
Jose Altuve 2/4 0 2 1
Alex Bregman 2/4 1 1 2
Carlos Correa 3/5 2 4 2

Correa, Bregman, and Altuve all struggled against the A’s in 2020, so the trio going a combined 7-for-13 was massive for Houston. Most of the Athletics’ production came from the bottom half of their lineup, as their first four hitters went 3-for-14 with one RBI.

Ballpark Factored into Game 1

One thing that may have been overlooked at the start of the series was playing at a neutral site.

The six home runs in Game 1 had a lot to do with Dodger Stadium. Chavez Ravine’s Park Factor for home runs according to ESPN is 1.165, ninth-highest in the league. Minute Maid Park is 30th at 0.716 and RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland is 31st at 0.628. Dodger Stadium also carries a higher factor than both for hits.

Valdez Riding High Entering Game 2

Framber Valdez has one big advantage over Sean Manaea on Tuesday: he’s pitched recently.

Valdez was outstanding in his lone 2020 playoff appearance, going five scoreless innings in relief of Zack Greinke against the Twins. Manaea, meanwhile, hasn’t pitched since September 23rd.


Valdez vs Manaea: 2020 Comparison

10 Starts 11
5-3 Record 4-3
3.57 ERA 4.50
6.4 Innings Per Start 4.9
76 Strikeouts 45
16 Walks 8
1.118 WHIP 1.204
2.85 FIP 3.71

After bouncing back and forth between starting and the bullpen to open his career, Valdez had an outstanding 2020. Valdez paced all Astros starters in innings and strikeouts, finished second in FIP, and third in WHIP and ERA+.

Valdez only started one game against the A’s this year, and he was dominant. He struck out nine over seven innings of work. He gave up seven hits, but only two were for extra bases, including a home run.

After looking dominant in a September return in 2019, Sean Manaea struggled in 2020. His 4.50 ERA was a career-high, while his 7.5 K/9 was the second-lowest of his career. His 1.3 BB/9 rate was a bright spot though, shaving a full walk off of his career average.

Manaea’s lone outing against the Astros though, was undoubtedly his best of the season. He allowed one run and two hits over seven innings with four strikeouts. It was the only time he completed more than six innings in 2020 and one of the five starts where he allowed two runs or fewer.


Game 1 Weighs Heavily on A’s

For the most part, Game 1 wasn’t a blowout. Until the Astros added two in the top of the ninth, neither side had led by more than three.

But the A’s ended up using seven relievers on Monday, with five of them hitting double-digits in pitches. So Oakland needs a big outing from Manaea.

With the way the Astros swung the bat in Game 1 though, that may be easier said than done. Houston’s got a chip on their shoulder and should come out swinging once again.

The Pick: Astros (-103), Over 8.5 (-120)

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Bryan Thiel

NFL MLB NHL Sports Writer