Stephen Nover's Thursday Top Ticket
Houston vs. Oakland,
08/06/2015 22:05 EDT,
Score: 5 - 4
Money Line: +125 Oakland
The Astros have been a great story this season, but pennant race pressure could be getting to them as they haven't been able to handle the road. They've dropped five in a row and 11 of their last 12 away games, including getting swept at Texas by the Rangers.
Now the Astros face another difficult road assignment. They have to travel to the West Coast after having playing a night game on Wednesday against the Rangers that finished around 10:30 p.m. local time. Oakland had a home day game on Wednesday thus highlighting even more of a home field advantage.
The A's also are helped against this opponent by the large dimensions of O.co Coliseum. It's the seventh toughest park in the majors to hit home runs in making this a bad matchup for the homer-or-bust Astros. Houston leads the majors in homers, but ranks 25th in batting average.
Houston opened as road favorites. The Astros have lost 21 of the last 27 times they've been road chalk.
The pitching matchup is Scott Feldman versus Aaron Brooks. Feldman is a bottom of the rotation starter, an innings-eater mediocre type. He has made three starts since coming off the DL following knee surgery and is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA. Only one of those outings was a quality start.
Houston has lost 12 of the last 15 times Feldman has pitched on the road. The Astros also are 1-5 in Feldman's last six starts against Oakland.
Brooks is 25. He came to the A's recently from the Royals in the trade that sent Ben Zobrist to Kansas City. Brooks isn't a highly touted prospect, but he has good control and is coming off a strong debut this past Saturday when he beat the Indians, 5-1, limiting the Indians to one run on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks in seven-plus innings.
I like Brooks much better pitching at home in spacious O.co Coliseum. The Astros are playing tight and have the weak link in their rotation going. The spot is good for Oakland and so is the value getting a plus price.