First pitch: 9:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Lance McCullers (1-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Matt Andriese (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Predictions
A pretty fascinating pitching matchup kicks off this three-game set from LA between the Astros and Angels. Prior to the season, both these probables had not started a major league game since 2018, and this was so for a variety of reasons.
McCullers, of course, is back from Tommy John surgery. He fared quite well in his return last weekend despite some apparent jitters early on. By the end of the outing, his usual swing-and-miss stuff was on full display, racking up six strikeouts in six innings and ultimately picking up the ‘W’ as well in a solid effort.
Don’t forget, this is someone that is one of the better strikeout pitchers. McCullers compiled more than 9 K/9 in each of his first four years in the big leagues and based on his first start back, it looks like he hasn’t lost that ability to rack up K’s.
The absence of three-time American League MVP Mike Trout, who was just placed on the paternity list, should help, too. The Angels do have a fine group of talent in the lineup even without Trout but I just like McCullers to continue his reascension to where he was pre-injury.
Then there’s Andriese, also on a comeback of sorts in his own right. No, the six-year veteran didn’t come back from a lengthy stint on the sidelines like his counterpart did, but he is out to prove that he’s indeed a starter, something he got to do the majority of the time in the beginning of his career in Tampa Bay.
Andriese eventually worked as a Rays “opener” and reliever before being dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he worked exclusively out of the bullpen. Los Angeles acquired him this past offseason with the intent at giving him another shot at starting again, and here we are.
Now this is the part where Andriese comes through and proves himself like I always thought he would at this level. He’s also following up a real nice team debut (and confidence-booster) when he worked five-plus shutout innings in relief of Shohei Ohtani on Sunday, scattering four baserunners and punching out five.
There’s no question Houston sports one of the most potent lineups in the league but it’s an assignment Andriese can handle in solidifying himself as a capable starter.
Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Best Bet
MLB Picks & Leans - Other Games July 31 Slate
New York Mets at Atlanta Braves: LEAN Over 10.5
Cincinnati Reds at Detorit Tigers: LEAN Under 8.5
Zylbert’s 2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 3-4, -1.40 units
Yesterday’s Result: Padres-Giants Under 8 (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit