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The Texas Rangers host the Houston Astros Friday in the second game of a four-game series. The Astros are 57-33 while the Rangers are 48-42 – not including the results of Thursday’s game. Right hander Jesse Chavez (3-4) gets the start for the Rangers while the Astros go with right hander Gerrit Cole (9-5). Game time is 8:10 p.m. Eastern at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Astros get hot going into all-star break
Since the Astros struggled through a seven-game losing streak in late June, they have recovered nicely. They have won 9 of their last 12 and 2 straight. On Sunday before the all-star break, the Astros outlasted the Angels 11-10 in 10 innings to improve to 57-33. They went into the all-star break holding a 7.5 game lead over Oakland and a 9 game lead over the Rangers. In the 11-10 win, rookie Jose Urquidy got blasted in his MLB debut for 5 runs in 2.1 innings, but the Astros bats bailed them out. Yordan Alvarez had a 2-run single in the 8th to tie it at 10-10 and then George Springer hit a walk off RBI single in the 10th to win it. Micahel Brantley had 4 hits while Tyler White, Alvarez, and Springer had 3 hits each. Yuli Gurriel added 2 hits including a home run and 4 RBIs. Ryan Pressly (2-1) got the win in relief.
Rangers have a great opportunity
For a team that was mired in the basement of the AL West last year, the Rangers have to be happy with where they are at the all-star break. Not counting the results of Thursday’s game, they are 48-42 and in third place in the division. They are only 9 games behind the first place Astros, this is an important series for them to come out and win and pick up a game or two in the standings. They ended the first half of the season losing 2 of 3 to Minnesota, but avoided the sweep with a 4-1 win last Sunday. The game went into extra innings tied 1-1 but Roughned Odor broke it wide open with a three-run homer in the top of the 11th to make it 4-1. Shawn Kelley (4-2) shut the door in the bottom of the 11th to get the win.
The Rangers can really hit the ball. They come in averaging 5.4 runs per game, which is 6th in baseball. They have a team batting average of .254, which is 12th in the majors, and a team slugging percentage of .445, which is 11th. They are 16th in home runs. Elvis Andrus leads the team with a .303 batting average and 8 HRs and 45 RBIs. Shin-Soo Choo is hitting .288 with 13 HRs and 36 RBIs, while Danny Santana is batting .300 with 9 HRs and 28 RBIs. Nomar Mazara is hitting .261 with 12 HRs and 49 RBIs while Asdrubel Cabrera is batting .227 with 11 HRs and 45 RBIs. Also, Logan Forsythe is hitting .294.
Two of their best hitters — Hunter Pence and Joey Gallo – are on the IL. Odor is batting .193 but has decent power numbers with 13 HRs and 47 RBIs. Their pitching has been wildly inconsistent. They have a team ERA of 4.82, which is 20th in the league. They have a WHIP of 1.43, which is 22nd. Jesse Chavez gets the start for the Rangers. The right hander is 3-4 with an ERA of 3.30. He gave up 5 runs in 5 innings last time out.
- Rangers are 2-6 in their last 8 overall.
- Rangers are 1-5 in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Astros are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Astros are 39-12 in their last 51 vs. American League West.
- Astros are 41-17 in their last 58 Friday games.
- Astros are 50-21 in their last 71 during game 2 of a series.
- Astros are 39-19 in their last 58 overall.
- Astros are 39-19 in their last 58 games on grass.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Take the Astros. This is a big home stand for the Rangers but the pitching match up here favors the Astros. Cole has been lights out as of late. He’ll have his hands full with a hard-hitting rangers lineup, but he’ll keep it close enough to win. Plus, the Astros have just about everyone back from the IL and are playing great right now. Houston has also been very successful against their cross-state rival. The Astros are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings and 19-7 in the last 26 meetings in Texas.
Prediction: Houston -190
Full-Game Total Pick
Take the under. This is a good pitching match up. Cole has been great as of late and Chavez has been very good as well. Both have ERAs in the low 3s, so don’t expect a lot of runs here. Fridays are for the under — at least as far as these two teams go. The under is 10-1-1 in the Rangers last 12 Friday games. Also, the under is 33-16-4 in the Astros last 53 Friday games. So, go with the under.