Houston Astros (71-42 SU, 61-52 RL, 61-45-7 O/U) vs. Texas Rangers (54-59 SU, 62-51 RL, 51-60-2 O/U)
MLB: Friday, August 11, 2017, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas, 8:05 pm ET
Lines: Houston -124, Texas +114; Over/Under: 9.5
It’s the start of a set between a pair of AL West rivals in the Lone Star State. The Houston Astros look to get back on track as they open a three game series with the Texas Rangers Friday night. Houston closed out their three game set on the road against the White Sox looking to avoid a sweep Thursday night: they lost Wednesday’s contest 7-1. Texas split a brief two game interleague series on the road against the Mets, winning the finale of the series 5-1 Wednesday. The Rangers took two of three in the last series between the teams, which took place in Houston June 12-14.
Houston Astros Seek to Regroup
Houston lost for the eighth time in their last 11 games as they were trounced by the White Sox Wednesday. The Astros are fortunate that they still hold a 13 game advantage in the AL West thanks to their torrid early season run. Alex Bregman was the only Houston player with two hits in the loss. Derek Fisher accounted for the lone Astros run with a solo homer, his fourth of the season, in the eighth inning to break up the shutout. Collin McHugh (0-1) took the loss on the mound as he allowed seven runs on nine hits with three walks and five strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work.
Charlie Morton takes the hill for his 17th start of the season in this contest for the Astros. He is 9-4 with a 3.78 ERA, a 1.227 WHIP, 36 walks and 104 strikeouts over 95.1 innings of work. Morton recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came Saturday at home against Toronto. He threw seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. Houston lost the game, 4-3, in 10 innings. Morton is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, six walks and 21 strikeouts over 20 innings in his last three starts. He makes his third career start against the Rangers in this one: he is 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.455 WHIP over 11 innings of work. Morton took a no-decision in his lone career start at Globe Life Park, which came with the Braves on June 19, 2008. He allowed three runs on five hits with four walks and three strikeouts over five innings in a game Atlanta lost 5-4.
Texas Rangers Fighting to Stay in Wild Card Picture
Texas split their brief two game series with the Mets by taking the finale of the series Wednesday afternoon. The Rangers entered Thursday four games behind the Mariners for the second and final wild card spot in the American League. Texas jumped to a 3-0 lead after half an inning and cruised the rest of the way. Nomar Mazara (two runs, RBI) had three hits for the Rangers while Shin-Soo Choo (run) and Adrian Beltre each added two. Martin Perez (6-10) picked up the win after allowing a run on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts over eight innings.
Cole Hamels makes his 14th start of the season for the Rangers. He missed nearly two months earlier this season with a strained oblique. Hamels is 6-1 with a 3.59 ERA, a 1.066 WHIP, 24 walks and 53 strikeouts over 85.1 innings of work. He won his last start, which was Saturday on the road against the Twins. Hamels tossed a complete game as he allowed one run (none earned) on four hits with a walk and five strikeouts in a 4-1 Rangers victory. He is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP, four walks and 17 strikeouts over 21 innings in his last three starts. Hamels is 6-3 with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.204 WHIP over 93 innings in 14 career starts against the Astros. He is 14-2 with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.246 WHIP over 191 innings in his 29 career starts at Globe Life Park.
- Astros are 0-5 in their last 5 games vs. a left-handed starter
- Rangers are 6-1 in their last 7 games following an off day
- Rangers are 5-1 in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600
- Rangers are 4-1 in their last 5 Friday games
The Astros have been reeling the last couple of weeks and one has to wonder if this is the precursor to a rough final seven or eight weeks of the regular season. Injuries have piled up and taken a toll on Houston though they activated George Springer from the 10 day DL. Texas is just trying to hang on the fringes of the wild card race. Hamels has been sharp lately and is coming off one of his best starts of the year. The Rangers get the nod in this one at home as the banged up Astros drop another one.