The second half of the 2023 MLB season begins tonight and the Houston Astros will return to action when visiting the Los Angeles Angels. First pitch is scheduled for 9:38 p.m. ET at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA. JP France (4-3, 3.26 ERA) will start for the ‘Stros while Shohei Ohtani (7-4, 3.32 ERA) will step on the hill for the Halos.
Los Angeles enters as a -150 favorite on the moneyline over at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Houston is a +130 underdog. The run total is set at 8.5.
Astros-Angels picks: Friday, July 14
Out: 2B Jose Altuve (oblique), OF Yordan Alvarez (oblique), SP Jose Urquidy (shoulder), DH Michael Brantley (shoulder), SP Lance McCullers (forearm)
Day-To-Day: 3B Anthony Rendon (shin), OF Taylor Ward (groin)
Out: OF Mike Trout (wrist), SS Zach Neto (oblique), 2B Brandon Drury (shoulder), RP Matt Moore (oblique), C Max Stassi (personal/hip), RP Ben Joyce (elbow)
The rookie France has been a solid arm for the Astros and posted six straight quality starts right before the All-Star break. He picked up the win against the Rockies last Wednesday, going six innings and yielding just three earned runs in a 4-3 victory. He’s been more comfortable on the road than at home, posting a 1.95 ERA in 37 innings away from Minute Maid Park this season.
Ohtani steps onto the mound for the Halos tonight amidst increasing trade rumors with the deadline approaching. The top All-Star vote-getter in the American League had a rare rough outing on the mound right before the break last Tuesday, yielding five earned runs in five innings against the Padres. This Astros team has been a thorn in his side this season as they’ve handed him two of his four losses.
Both offenses return from the break with some of their heavy hitters still on the shelf as the likes of Mike Trout, Jose Altuve, and Yordan Alvarez are still nursing injuries. I expect a relatively low-scoring affair where the under hits tonight.
Pick: Under 8.5
L.A. absolutely spiraled right before the All-Star break, losing nine of 10 games. Tonight, they’ll have their star two-way player both on the mound and in the batter’s box and I’ll predict that they start the second half off on the right foot at home.