Featured Video from Scott Reichel
We’ve got an interstate battle here as the Houston Astros travel to take on the Texas Rangers in the first game after the All-Star break. There are no other games on Thursday, so they’ll be on a national stage. Lance Lynn will be on the mound for the Rangers, while Framber Valdez gets the start for Houston. Oddsmakers have the Astros as slight road favorites in this one.
The Houston Astros are once again one of the best teams in the league in 2019, although they certainly didn’t look their best heading into the All-Star break. Over their last 19 games, they’ve gone only 9-10, and haven’t looked like a dominant team. They’ve been a bit banged up, and will still be missing star shortstop Carlos Correa here, which is a big loss. As they look to get back to their winning ways, they’ll have Framber Valdez on the mound here. Unfortunately for the Astros, Valdez has really struggled recently. He’d gotten sent down to the minors right before the break, so he hasn’t even pitched in the big leagues since June 26th.
He wasn’t pitching well, as he gave up six earned runs and eight hits in just three innings in his last start before getting sent down. In his last start before that, he gave up five earned runs in just 3 and 1/3 innings. Valdez has mostly pitched out of the bullpen, and only has nine career MLB starts under his belt. Asking such an inexperienced pitcher to go on the road here into one of the toughest parks for pitchers in the league against a very good lineup is a lot. The Astros have been struggling against righties like Lynn recently, and are just 4-9 in their last 13 games against right-handed starters.
Rangers Surprising Everybody
The Rangers have been one of the biggest pleasant surprises of the 2019 season. Coming off another rough year in 2018, expectations weren’t too high for them this year. Many observers picked them to finish last in the AL West, but they enter this one at 48-42 and are right in the thick of the playoff race. They’ll have Lance Lynn on the mound here, who has been solid all season. Lynn had a rough year in 2018 but was one of the league’s better pitchers before that, so it’s not surprising to see him bouncing back. He enters this one with a 3.91 ERA and over his last two starts he’s given up only two runs and one walk in 15 innings of work.
Lance Lynn showing shades of '08 with the 96 CHEE pic.twitter.com/Oft4nJGZRb
— Robby Rowland (@RobbyRow_12) May 11, 2019
Even though Arlington Park isn’t very friendly to pitchers Lynn has managed to fare well there, and the Rangers are 8-1 in his last nine home starts. Lynn pitched on the road against this vaunted Houston lineup earlier this year and held his own, lasting seven innings while giving up three runs and striking out eight. Shin-Soo Choo was dealing with a minor ankle injury right before the break but he should be good to go here, although you’ll need to monitor his status. Texas’ lineup has been a revelation all year long, as veterans were counted out like Choo and Hunter Pence have been having resurgent seasons. It’s been enjoyable to watch, and hopefully they can keep it up over the second half of the season.
- 8-1 in Lynn’s last 9 home starts
- 4-0 in Lynn’s last 4 starts overall
- 5-2 in their last 7 games following a win
- 3-9 in their last 12 Thursday games
- 4-9 in their last 13 games vs. a right-handed starter
- 3-8 in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Getting the Rangers as a home underdog here is great value. They’ve actually been the better team recently, and they have the better pitcher on the mound. They always play better at home, and they’re 8-1 in Lynn’s last nine home starts, and Lynn has been brilliant over his past two games, giving up just two runs across 15 innings. The Astros are just 9-10 in their last 19 games, and are being overvalued in this spot.
Prediction: Rangers +110
Full-Game Total Pick
I also like the over a lot here. Valdez has really struggled in his last couple of big league starts, giving up 11 earned runs in just 6 and 1/3 innings. Both of these teams have elite lineups, and they’re playing at a stadium that might be the second-most hostile to pitchers of any park in the league behind only Coors Field. This one should have plenty of scoring.
Prediction: Over 11