Last Updated: 2017-08-12
Things can change in the blink of an eye and the Houston Astros know this as well as anyone else. It was just a couple of weeks ago that the Astros were the hottest team in the league as they racked up win after win with their powerful offense and excellent pitching staff. They still have a comfortable 13-game lead on the second place Mariners in the AL West but they have hit the skids over the past couple of weeks. They have won just 2 of their last 9 and they’ve been held to 4 runs or less in 6 of those while giving up 5 or more in 6 of those games.
As for the Rangers, they aren’t quite dead yet. They may sit 16.5 games behind the Astros in the AL West but they are within 3.5 games of a wild card berth although the need to leap over 5 other teams to get there. Still, they should be motivated to play good ball and try to get on a roll. Winning 4 of their last 11 games certainly isn’t helping matters.
The visiting Astros will send Mike Fiers to the mound when these two teams meet in Arlington on Saturday. The right-handed veteran will be making his 23rd start of the season. He owns a 7-6 record and has a 4.06 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP. He’s been getting smacked around recently having given up 13 runs on 17 hits and 9 free passes in his last 3 starts in which he has pitched 16.1 innings. He has also been giving up his share of long balls. Overall, Fiers has been quite effective at eating up innings and he’s been steadily throwing around 100 pitches per game.
Tyson Ross is currently listed on the DL with a blister but MLB.com has him listed as the starter on Saturday. He has started 7 games this year and compiled a 2-2 record. He has a bloated 7.52 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. These numbers are much worse than his career averages.
First pitch from Globe Life Park in Arlington is scheduled for 8:05 PM EST and you can catch all the action on SportsNet SW and FSSW.
Houston Astros at Texas Rangers
Moneyline: Houston Astros -128, Texas Rangers +119
Total: Over 9.5 -115, Under 9.5 +106
The Astros still have the best overall team batting average in the majors by a long shot and they are also number one in OBP. Leadoff man George Springer and his .306 BA is followed up by Jose Altuve and his .365 BA. Throw in Josh Reddick’s .301 BA and Yuli Gurriel’s .295 BA and you have a very powerful top four. Reddick and Springer have been on a bit of a cold streak but Gurriel and Altuve continue to be effective.
The Houston bullpen is led by Devinski, Giles, Harris, and Brad Peacock who all have ERAs of 3.00 or less. The relievers have been decent over this past week but they haven’t been getting an abundance of help from their starters. Dallas Keuchel hasn’t been the same dominant force since returning from the DL and Colin McHugh has been getting smacked around recently.
With a win on Friday night, the Rangers now have won 5 of their last 8. They have scored 4 or more runs in 11 straight. The odd thing is that these Rangers haven’t really been hitting the ball that well in recent games. Over the past week, Joey Gallo is the only batter to hit over .250. Andrus, Choo, Mazara, and Gomez are all hitting below the Mendoza line. Still, the combination of timely hits by the offense and half-decent pitching has led to wins. While the bullpen nearly blew it on Friday, they held on for the win to keep pace with the rest of the wild card hunters. The Rangers now have the momentum in their favor as they head into Saturday’s pivotal game.
Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Betting Trends and Prediction
With Friday’s win, the Rangers are now 4-7 against their AL West rivals this season. The over is 6-4-1 in those games. The over is 5-6 in Texas’ last 11 and it is 6-5 in Houston’s last 11. The away team is 6-5 on the season when these teams have met and the over is 11-7-4 in Mike Fiers’ starts this season. The over is 35-16-5 in Houston’s last 56 road games and it is 6-0 in Houston’s last 6 games versus a team with a winning home record. Another favorable over trend is the 20-7-1 in Houston’s last 28 versus a team with a losing record.
The Rangers have been loving Saturday games as they have won 8 of their last 9 games played on Saturday. They are also an impressive 12-5 in their last 17 game twos of a series. As a point of interest, the losing team has been held to 2 or less runs in 7 of this year’s 11 head-to-head matches while the winning team has won by two or more in 10 of the 11 meetings. The real wild card in this matchup is Tyson Ross’s status. If the blister starts to be an issue then the Rangers will yank him meaning that the bullpen could possibly be called on to carry the load. This game is shaping up to be heated match and I will go with the team that has the momentum and the plus money.
My Pick: Texas Rangers +119