The Coach's MLB Late Show S-P-E-C-I-A-L

The Coach's MLB Late Show S-P-E-C-I-A-L

Houston vs. Oakland, 08/07/2015 22:05 EDT, Score: 1 - 3

Point Spread: +1½/-170 Oakland

Sportsbook: 5Dimes

Result: Win

The AL West-leading Houston Astros were coming into this four-game set against AL West rivals the Oakland Ahtletics on the back three straight losses to another division (and local) rival in the Texas Rangers. They won the opener 5-4 in extra innings Thursday, and I think we'll see another close contest when the teams respective ace will take the hill.

Here are my keys to the game:

1. Pitching - The Astros hand the ball to Dallas Keuchel (13-5, 2.35 ERA) who surrendered only two runs on as many hits in six innings of a 9-2 home win against the D'backs his last start. He had conceded five runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings at Kansas City his last start prior though and he's 3-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 10 road-starts for the year, losing five of his last six starts away from home behind a 4.87 ERA. The A's will counter with Sonny Gray (11-4, 2.12) who's 1-0 with an 1.08 ERA in his last three starts. He is 2-2 with a respectable 2.67 ERA in four career starts versus the Astros.

2. Road Woes - The Astros are just 23-31 away from home this season and they're 2-9 in their last 11 road games when facing a right-handed starter.

3. X-Factor - The A's newly acquired Danny Valencia is 5-for-9 with two doubles and a homer in previous meetings with Keuchel.

Selection: This is a play on the Oakland Athletics +1.5 (8*)

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