In the first of a three-game series between the Houston Astros (80-73) and the Texas Rangers (83-69) at Minute Maid Park, Scott Kazmir (7-10, 2.73 ERA) and Yovani Gallardo (12-11, 3.41 ERA) take the mound. The game starts at 8:10 p.m. ET on Friday, Sep. 25 and will air on FSSW, RTSW and ESP2.
In his most recent outing, Kazmir pitched 3.2 innings, giving up three runs, striking out two and walking three in a 10-6 loss to the Athletics. George Springer (.262, 52 Rs, 14 HRs, 37 RBIs, 15 SBs) continued his strong season Wednesday, going 2 for 5 with three RBIs. The Rangers were unsuccessful to the Mariners 3-1 the last time Gallardo pitched. He went 5.0 innings, allowing three runs, striking out four and walking two. Rougned Odor (.271, 51 Rs, 15 HRs, 57 RBIs, 5 SBs) has been doing well, going 2 for 5 yesterday with two runs.
Houston is a -142 favorite in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is eight runs. When playing as the favorite, the Astros have a 50-42 record and overall money line at -470. They have an SU record of 34-36 against teams in their division and an 18-25 record when they were the favorite in those games. The Astros rank second in the majors in extra base hits with 487. The Astros are a nightmare for opponents on the bases with 112 steals, one of the highest totals in baseball. Houston's pitching staff performs very well on its own field, with an AL-best 3.10 team ERA at home. The Astros are fourth in the league in WHIP at 1.20. An area where the Astros are particularly strong at home is striking batters out, where they average 8.6 K's per home game.
On the other side, the Rangers have a record of 58-53 when they are the underdog and are +2,914 overall with the money line. Over the last 10 games, they were unbeaten as the underdog with a perfect 2-0 record and 8-2 SU. Texas has been playing better lately, averaging 7.6 runs per game, more than their season average of 4.5.
The Rangers had the upper hand against the Astros in their previous 16 games this season, earning a 12-4 record. This game will feature Gallardo (RHP) on the mound against the Astros, who have a 53-45 record when they take on a right-handed starter. The left-handed Kazmir will take the mound against the Rangers, who have a 30-28 record against lefty starters this season.
Predictions: SU Winner - Hou, O/U - Over
The Astros are 34-36 against their divisional rivals, while the Rangers are 33-36 against their division.
Texas has won 51% (34-33) of its games when leading after 7 innings. However, Houston has won 56% (35-27) of its games when taking a late lead.
The Rangers are coming off of a weak pitching game where they recorded six strikeouts. The Astros have a record of 26-23 when opponents' pitchers have that many strikeouts or fewer.
When they are outhit, the Astros are 13-51. The Rangers have an 18-53 record when opponents outhit them.
Texas ranks in the top half of the league at 13th when it comes to home runs, hitting 160 this season. Houston ranks in the top five at second with 209.
Ranking 14th, Houston is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.26 per game. Texas ranks in the top five at fifth with 8.71.
Houston and Texas both rank in the top 10 of the league for their on-base plus slugging percentage. Houston sits at seventh with an OPS of .741 and Texas ranks 10th with an OPS of .739.
When the Rangers allow at least one home run, they are 41-52. When the Astros allow one or more homers, they have a 30-51 record.