The Houston Astros are a damn good baseball team. The only reason they weren’t ranked in the top two of my AL power rankings this past week was because they had one bad series, on the road, in Minnesota. If that series goes the other way, then the Astros would easily have the top spot. On the other hand, the Texas Rangers are just average. They come into this series at 17-17. To give credit where it is due, that is a lot better than the Rangers were supposed to be doing this season. I expected the Rangers to be crying in the basement of the AL West the whole season. So, good for you Rangers, but you have a tough matchup now.
Money Line – Texas Rangers +145, Houston Astros -155
Run Line – Texas Rangers +1.5 (-136), Houston Astros -1.5 (+123)
Over/Under – 9.5 (O -105, U -115)
First Pitch – 7:10 p.m. CST Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
The Texas Rangers are in for a tough task when the head to Houston. Not only do they have to take on a good baseball team, but they also face a good pitcher. It’s also one that gives them an unfavorable matchup. Wade Miley is the sole left-handed starter in the Astros rotation. Rangers batters do not hit left-handed starters, as well as they hit right-handers. Against left-handed starters, the Rangers have a slash line of .221/.323/.399. Compare that to the .263/.342/.472 slash line when facing right-handed starters, and you can see that the Rangers are in trouble. Lucky for them, they have their own ace on the mound with Mike Minor. Yes, I did call Minor their ace. That is how not great this starting rotation is. Minor is having a great season though with a .240 ERA and is the Rangers best chance at winning this game.
You know this Astros rotation is good when Wade Miley is the third best pitcher on the staff. And that’s no knock to Miley, he has been awesome this year. A 3.20 ERA, coupled with a 0.6 WAR, makes Miley a pitcher any team would love to have on their staff. It is tough to see how this team loses games. They have an amazing pitching staff, and all-star level players hitting and fielding the ball. Take Alex Bregman for example, Bregman is hitting a respectable .283. Not great but not terrible. However, he gets on base more than a kid on prom night. His OBP of .401 is insanely good and puts him in the top 15 in all of baseball.
Preview and Prediction
This game is actually a lot tougher to pick than one would think. The Astros are the better team overall. However, the last time that Minor faced the Astros, he got the win. Not only did he get the win, but the Rangers blanked the Astros 4-0 in Houston. I am still not confident enough to pick the Rangers winning outright, but I do like them getting 1.5 runs at -136. Oh, and take the under. When Miley pitchers, opposing teams have only score over five runs once.