Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#921 Houston Astros -200 vs.
#922 Texas Rangers 10.5
Friday, July 12, 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 continue the opening series of the second half of the season on the diamond. The Houston Astros are on the road as they play the second game of a four-game series with the Texas Rangers Friday 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 pitching matchup for Friday’s series opener saw Framber Valdez take the mound for Houston against Texas’ Lance Lynn. First pitch in that contest was set for 8:05 pm ET.

Houston Astros Try to Build Off Hot First Half Finish

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.

Gerrit Cole gets the call for his 20th start of the year for the Astros in this contest and he looks to maintain his recent momentum. He has been good lately after a slow start, posting a 9-5 record with a 3.09 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP, 30 walks and 170 strikeouts over 116.2 innings of work this season. Cole ran his unbeaten streak to eight as he picked up the win in his last start, which came Saturday at home against the Angels. He threw seven innings, allowing no runs on three hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in a 4-0 Houston triumph. Cole is 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, five walks and 22 strikeouts over 20 innings in his last three starts. He is 4-2 with a 3.72 ERA, a 1.097 WHIP, 17 walks and 78 strikeouts over 48.1 innings in eight career starts against the Rangers. Cole is 3-2 with a 4.33 ERA, a 1.274 WHIP, 16 walks and 52 strikeouts over 35.1 innings in six career starts at Globe Life Park.

Texas Rangers Looking to Gain Ground in Wild Card Race

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.

Jesse Chavez takes the mound for his 38th appearance and eighth start of the season for the Rangers in this contest. He is 3-4 with a 3.30 ERA, a 1.197 WHIP, 17 walks and 59 strikeouts over 62.2 innings of work. Chavez took the loss in his last start, which came on the road against the Twins on Saturday. He allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in a 7-4 Texas defeat. Chavez is 1-2 with a 3.63 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP, two walks and 18 strikeouts over 17.1 innings in his last three starts. He is 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA, a 1.269 WHIP, 31 walks and 72 strikeouts over 84.1 innings in 33 career appearances, nine starts, against the Astros. Chavez is 4-6 with a 5.04 ERA, a 1.289 WHIP, 19 walks and 84 strikeouts over 94.2 innings in 47 career appearances, 11 starts, at Globe Life Park.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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Chavez has acquitted himself well enough since being moved back into the rotation as a full-time starter as opposed to an opener. That is something the Rangers need: capable starters to follow Mike Minor and Lance Lynn in the rotation. The problem for Texas in this one is that they are facing a high-powered, extremely deep Houston lineup that can wreak havoc for opposing pitchers. Cole has been on a roll with wins in his last three starts: his last loss came back on May 22. The Astros have too much offense here and that delivers the win for Cole in this contest.

Prediction: Houston Astros -180

Full-Game Total Pick

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We know that Houston has the ability to put runs on the board as the team has excelled even through a series of injuries. The Astros entered Thursday 10th in the majors with 5.09 runs per game while ranking fourth with a .269 team batting average. Texas is even better offensively, ranking sixth with 5.39 runs per game and second with 72 stolen bases. The difference between the teams in this one is the pitching: Houston is fourth with a 3.86 team ERA and second with a 1.14 WHIP while Texas is 20th in team ERA (4.82) and 25th in WHIP (1.43) this season. Can Chavez find a way to outduel Cole and give the Rangers a win? The under is 4-0 in Cole’s last 4 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance, 4-0 in Cole’s last 4 starts on grass, 4-0 in Cole’s last 4 starts overall and 4-1 in Cole’s last 5 Friday starts. Texas has seen the under go 10-1-1 in their last 12 Friday games and 6-2 in their last 8 games vs. a right-handed starter. Given the way that both pitchers have been twirling of late, this one seems likely to end up under the number, even in the offensive ballpark that is Globe Life Park.

Prediction: Under 10

First Five Innings Side Pick

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Houston has been good at putting up runs early in games, which has helped them run ahead in the AL West. The Astros have a +26 run differential in the opening three innings of games while the Rangers have a +22 mark mainly due to the fact that they pile up a lot of runs. The problem for Texas is that the Astros have the better pitcher on the mound in this contest as Cole has been rolling along and leads the AL in strikeouts. Houston has the upper hand after five innings in this contest.

Prediction: Houston Astros -179

First Five Innings Total Bet

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We’ve seen Cole rolling at this point in time with a 5-0 mark in his last eight starts heading into this contest. He has struggled early, posting a 4.74 ERA in the opening inning and he’s given up nine homers in the first two innings before settling in. Chavez has been solid, holding opponents to only four runs (two earned) in the first three innings of games this season. He has scuffled in the fourth (6.00 ERA) and fifth (7.36 ERA) innings but he can do enough to keep Texas in the game. This one ends up under the total after five innings.

Prediction: Under 5.5
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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. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.