Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#951 Houston Astros -125 vs.
#952 Texas Rangers 10.5
Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 8:05pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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The Lone Star Rivalry adds another chapter to its history as a pair of AL West rivals kick off the second half of the season on the diamond. The Houston Astros are on the road as they open up a four-game series with the Texas Rangers Thursday night. Houston took two of three at home from the Angels over the weekend, prevailing 11-10 in 10 innings in the rubber game Sunday afternoon. Texas avoided a three-game sweep on the road in Minnesota as they claimed a 4-1, 11-inning, win Sunday. The Astros hold a 6-4 edge in the season series and swept a four-game home set in the last series between the teams May 9-12.

Houston Astros Looking to Extend AL West Edge

Houston won for the ninth time in 12 games after snapping a seven-game slide as they managed to earn a walk-off win over the Angels Sunday. The Astros enter this contest with a comfortable 7.5-game advantage over the A’s in the AL West race. Houston got four hits from Michael Brantley (three runs) while George Springer (RBI), Yordan Alvarez (three RBI) and Tyler White (run, RBI) each added three in the victory. Jose Urquidi didn’t factor in the decision on the mound as he was chased after 2.1 innings: he allowed five runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Ryan Pressly (2-1) threw a scoreless 10th, allowing a hit and striking out two, to pick up the win.

Framber Valdez is in line to get the ball for his 19th appearance and fifth start of the season for the Astros in this contest. He is 3-4 with a 4.57 ERA, a 1.368 WHIP, 19 walks and 41 strikeouts over 45.1 innings of work on the year. Valdez took the loss in his last start, which came June 26 at home against the Pirates. He threw three innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts strikeouts in a 14-2 Astros defeat. Valdez is 1-2 with a 9.49 ERA, a 1.78 WHIP, six walks and 13 strikeouts in 12.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his fourth career appearance and first start against the Rangers in this contest: he is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA, a 1.875 WHIP, five walks and eight strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work. Valdez is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA, a 1.846 WHIP, four walks and six strikeouts over 4.1 innings of work in two relief appearances at Globe Life Park in his career.

Texas Rangers Trying to Regroup

Texas stumbled into the All-Star break, dropping six of seven before beating Minnesota in the series finale Sunday. The Rangers enter this game third in the AL West, nine games behind Houston: they were three games behind the Indians for the second wild card spot. Texas got four hits from Danny Santana (RBI) while Joey Gallo (two runs) and Shin-soo Choo each had two. Rougned Odor had the big blast with a three-run homer, his 13th, in the 11th inning to break a 1-1 tie. Jose Leclerc served as the opener and gave up a run on three hits with one walk and one strikeout over 1.2 innings. Shaun Kelley (4-2) tossed two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with no walks and two strikeouts, to earn the win.

Lance Lynn takes the mound for his 19th start of the season for the Rangers in this contest. He comes in 11-4 with a 3.91 ERA, a 1.217 WHIP, 26 walks and 123 strikeouts over 115 innings of work. Lynn ran his record to 7-1 in his last 10 starts as he picked up the win over the Angels in his last outing July 4. He threw seven innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with no walks and five strikeouts in a 9-3 Texas victory. Lynn is 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, two walks and 21 strikeouts over 22 innings in his last three starts. He is 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA, a 1.156 WHIP, 18 walks and 49 strikeouts over 45 innings in eight career appearances, seven starts, against the Astros. Lynn is 7-0 with a 4.37 ERA, a 1.283 WHIP, 11 walks and 56 strikeouts over 57.2 innings in nine career starts at Globe Life Park.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The Astros are admittedly unclear about who will get the call in this one but it looks like they have lined up the rest of their rotation for the series. With Brad Peacock on the shelf, Valdez may get another look by default. Lynn has been tremendous over his last 10 starts, posting a 2.81 ERA with nine walks and 79 strikeouts over 67.1 innings of work. That has lowered his ERA from 5.48 to 3.91 and the FIP number (2.98) shows that there still may be some positive regression to come. Houston has plenty of talent in their lineup but Lynn has pitched well against the Astros in his career. With an edge on the mound here, you have to lean toward the Rangers coming up with a much-needed victory to start the series.

Prediction: Texas Rangers +113

Full-Game Total Pick

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This is a matchup of two teams heading in different directions heading into the break. Houston got hot after a seven-game slide made them seem vulnerable while Texas dropped six of eight heading into the break. The Rangers have been very prolific offensively at home, averaging 5.65 runs per game with a .261/.334/.429 slash line at Globe Life Park. Valdez has struggled in his last couple outings and has a 5.09 ERA to go with a 1.585 WHIP in 17.2 road innings this season. Can the Rangers gain ground in the wild card race with a win here?

The over is 4-0 in the Astros’ last 4 when their opponent allows 2 runs or less in their previous game, 5-1 in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600 and 7-3-2 in their last 12 games following a win. Texas has seen the over go 4-1 in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600 and 22-8-1 in their last 31 games following an off day. With Texas facing a struggling pitcher and the offensive bonanza that comes with Globe Life Park, this one ends up over the number.

Prediction: Over 11

First Five Innings Side Pick

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Valdez was roughed up in each of his last two starts, failing to make it out of the fourth inning while giving up a combined 11 runs. The Astros are almost back to full strength with Springer and Altuve back to bolster their star-studded lineup. However, Texas is no pushover offensively, especially at home. Lynn has been rolling over his last 10 starts and has provided a solid piece in the Rangers’ rotation to work with Mike Minor. He does his part and gives the Rangers the edge after five innings.

Prediction: Texas Rangers

First Five Innings Total Bet

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Valdez has been tagged hard in his last couple of starts and that’s cause for concern for a thinned-out Astros rotation. His ERA has jumped from 2.77 to 4.57 in his last two starts and that means the potential for another meltdown is a definite possibility. Texas has the ability to put up some crooked numbers on a regular basis at Globe Life Park and their pitching has done the same fairly regularly. Even with Lynn pitching, the potential for this one going over the number is there. Look for some early fireworks to push this one over the total after five.

Prediction: Over

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.