As August gets underway, the MLB season is really heating up with top level matchups offering playoff implications such as the one that is currently occurring between the (70-41) Houston Astros and the (61-50) Los Angeles Dodgers. They play the second of their three game series today (9:10 PM ET Saturday).
In 2017 the Astros and Dodgers met in the World Series, something that may happen again this year the way things are going. The two teams played the full seven games, going the distance and battling back and forth with the trophy on the line. It was a thrilling World Series, ultimately won by the Astros 4-3.
Houston’s win has seemed to serve as the launch pad for a great dynasty as once again, the Astros are in a good position to pull off a rare repeat. They may have to get past the same team they did last year which means this summer series could be a preview of what’s to come in the fall.
The Astros and Dodgers opened up their recent series on Friday night at Dodger Stadium in LA. Unlike in the World Series where the Dodgers struck first, this time Game 1 went to the Astros. Both teams scored their only runs over the course of the first two innings, with a stellar pitching duel ensuing for much of the contest.
Leading the way for LA was Alex Wood, who pitched a solid six innings, giving up just four hits and only one earned run. Representing the winning team was Justin Verlander, who put in one of his best pitching performances of the season. Verlander scattered just four hits and one run over 7.2 innings. Most impressively, he struck out 14 in that span, his stuff all but unhittable on the night.
While neither team performed at the offensive level we have been accustomed to seeing over the course of the season, Houston backed Verlander’s dominant outing with just enough production to ensure the victory.
Game 2 Pitching Probables: (HOU) Lance McCullers Jr. vs (LAD) Kenta Maeda
The Dodgers will look to get back to the winning side of things in Game 2 as they sent the 30-year-old righty Kenta Maeda to the mound.
Born in Osaka, Japan, Maeda joined the Dodgers three years ago and has pitched both out of the bullpen and in the starting nine. During the World Series last year, Maeda represented LA from the pen, allowing just one run in his 5.2 innings pitched against the Astros. This year, Maeda has spent his time mainly as a starter, a role he has had his ups and downs with in 2018. On the year, Maeda has a 3.48 ERA and 7-6 record. Additionally, the Dodgers are just 8-10 in Maeda’s starts this season. One of these losses came in his most recent start, in which Maeda allowed four runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Having been in MLB just a few years and being that the Astros and Dodgers don’t tend to play each other all that frequently now that they are in separate leagues, Maeda has only previously faced one Houston hitter, Martin Maldonado. Maldonado is 0-for-8.
Opposing Maeda is the 24-year-old righty out of Tampa, Florida, Lance McCullers Jr.
McCullers is in his fourth year in the league all of which have been spent with Houston as a starting pitcher. Last year, McCullers pitched in five of Houston’s playoff games, starting three of them. He pitched well, allowing just six runs in 20.2 innings while striking out 19. He recorded one win and one save. It should be noted that McCullers was the one starting Game 7, which was ultimately won by the Astros, 5-1, behind his solid pitching.
In 2018, McCullers has again pitched well, boasting a 10-6 record and for the most part, keeping the Astros in a position to win each of his starts. He has struck out 133 across 122 innings and has a 4.06 ERA overall on the year. Unfortunately for the Astros, McCullers’ last three starts have been the worst of his season as the young pitcher has gone 0-3 with a 9.22 ERA, allowing 16 hits and walking 10 in just 13.2 innings.
Much like Maeda, McCullers doesn’t have a vast experience facing the Dodgers and as such, their players have very limited at bats against him. Manny Machado has the most with nine but he has yet to get a hit off McCullers. Brian Dozier has fared slightly better, recording one hit in eight at bats and an RBI.
Our Preview’s Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers Game 2 Betting Picks & Predictions Verdict
Both Houston and LA rank within the top six in baseball when it comes to their offensive stats, something that hasn’t been on display so far. That was because in Game 1, two top pitchers were on the mound. In Game 2, there will definitely be more of an opportunity for these teams to show off at the plate and demonstrate the skills that have put them among the elite.
LA is one of the best home teams in baseball and so should play well in their second outing. The American offshore sportsbooks are right to favor the Dodgers (by 1.5) on the runline even if the pitching matchup, at least on paper, might seem more favorable to the Astros.
- Look for LA to get back to their winning ways as one of the best teams in the National League, by defeating the Astros as this World Series rematch continues. Bet on LA Dodgers -1.5 @ best odds of +176 with Bookmaker. It is +175 with Bovada and +170 with most other firms.
- As for the total runs scored in this Houston Astros vs Los Angeles Dodgers Game 2 clash, our prediction is to go with the over 7.5 @ best odds of -115 with Bovada, Intertops or 5Dimes. This game doesn’t look to be a pitching duel in the same way that the first game of the series was.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.