Dallas Keuchel (6-11, 4.86 ERA) and Martin Perez (7-7, 4.22 ERA) take the hill in the first of a three-game series between the Houston Astros (56-52) and the Texas Rangers (63-46) at Minute Maid Park. Action begins at 8:10 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 5 and can be seen on RTSW and FSSW.
Keuchel pitched 5.0 innings in his most recent start, surrendering seven runs, striking out four and walking three in an 11-0 defeat to the Tigers. Perez went 7.0 innings, surrendering one run, striking out five and walking three in a 2-1 win over the Royals in his last outing. Carlos Beltran (.302, 51 Rs, 23 HRs, 66 RBIs) has been successful at the plate for the Rangers, going 2 for 4 yesterday with one RBI.
This one isn't expected to be close when Houston, a substantial -181 favorite, takes on Texas. The matchup has an estimated Over/Under (O/U) of eight runs. The Astros have an overall money line of -816 and a record as the favorite of 40-39. Houston has had an impressive season against division opponents, earning 19-17 and 27-21 records as the favorite and SU, respectively. The Astros have seen a decline in scoring as of late, averaging 3.3 runs during the last 10 games compared to their season average of 4.4 runs per game. Houston is one of the best in the MLB in terms of steals, swiping 79 bases. Turning to the pitching and defensive side, it's been a struggle for opposing teams to score runs against the Astros. The 4.1 runs that Houston's pitchers allow per game makes them the top staff in the AL. The Astros are the fifth-best team in the AL at limiting hits during home games, allowing only 8.6 hits per game to their opponents this season. Opponents have consistently been struck out by the Astros, who lead the AL in strikeouts per game with 8.7.
In games where it is the underdog, Texas has a 36-30 record and an overall money line of +2,127. They have been playing solid baseball as the underdog with an 18-11 record against AL West rivals, and a 27-18 record SU. The Rangers allow just four runs per road game, ranking them fifth in the AL. When it comes to preventing batters from getting hits, the Rangers are fifth in the AL on the road with an average of 8.4 hits allowed per away game.
The Rangers have controlled the season series, 9-1. The Astros have a 14-19 record against left-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Perez takes the mound. Keuchel (LHP) will be on the hill against the Rangers, who have a 14-14 record against left-handed starting pitchers.
Predictions: SU Winner - HOU, O/U - Over
The Astros are 27-21 against their divisional rivals, while the Rangers are 27-18 against their division.
Having scored one run in their last game, the Astros are going to have to step it up if they want to win this matchup. The Rangers have a 16-0 record in games where opponents scored one run or less.
When they are outhit, the Astros are 9-46. The Rangers have a 17-33 record when opponents outhit them.
Houston ranks in the top half of the league when it comes to home runs, hitting 134 this season. Texas ranks in the top 10 at seventh with 141.
Ranking 14th, Houston is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.28 per game. Texas ranks in the top 10 at sixth with 8.93.
Ranking 18th, Houston is in the bottom half of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.732). Texas ranks in the top half at 11th with an OPS of .755.
The Rangers are 40-40 in games where they allow one or more home runs. The Astros are 35-33 when they allow at least one homer.