Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#923 Texas Rangers 8.5 vs.
#924 Houston Astros -460
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 at 8:10pm EDT
Written by Ricky Dimon

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#923 Texas
#924 Houston
74-78
99-53
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The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers will wrap up a brief two-game series when they clash at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Wednesday night.

Allard on a winning streak

The Rangers are trying to finish the season with a winning record but dropped three in a row to Oakland over the weekend to fall to 74-77 and will only see teams with winning records the rest of the way–Houston, Oakland, Boston, and the Yankees. Catcher Jeff Mathis (back strain) is not expected to play in this series against the Astros. That is bad news, too, because Texas needs all the power it can get based on how many runs its pitching staff has given up of late. In fact, the Athletics crossed the plate 28 times in the three contests. The opposition has scored at least four runs on the Rangers in nine consecutive games.

Left-hander Kolby Allard (4-0, 4.34 ERA) is taking the mound for Texas on Wednesday. Allard is undefeated in seven starts this season even though he has been unspectacular. The Rangers have won each of his last six outings after dropping his team debut at Milwaukee on Aug. 9. Allard most recently faced Tampa Bay last Thursday, when he logged 4.0 innings and surrendered four runs on seven hits and three walks to go along with one strikeout during a 6-4 victory for Texas. The 22-year-old has never gone up against Houston.

Five hits for Reddick

The Astros are in a battle with the Yankees for the best record in the American League and the top spot in the AL playoffs and don’t appear to be ready to ease off the gas despite a comfortable division lead. They will try to extend their latest winning streak during this series against Texas. Houston ripped through a three-game series at Kansas City over the weekend, winning by a combined margin 22-5. Thus the team is two wins away (tied with the Yankees at 98-53) from clinching its third consecutive 100-win campaign. The Astros, who will play their final 11 regular-season games against sub-.500 division opponents are getting production from up and down the lineup and watched outfielder Josh Reddick carry the load with a career-high five hits in Sunday’s 12-3 rout of the Royals.

“They’re telling me to go out and get the fifth one and, as soon as I hit it and it got through the infield, I could hear my dugout as I was running down the baseline,” Reddick commented. “A great feeling all around. These days don’t come around without a few lucky hits in there.”

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Gerrit Cole (17-5, 2.62 ERA) will oppose Allard on Wednesday. The right-hander has been outstanding in his second season with the Astros; even better than in his first one, in fact (15-5, 2.88 ERA). Cole has been borderline unhittable since the start of the summer, compiling ERAs of 1.89 in June, 1.85 in July, 2.36 in August, and 0.82 in September. The 29-year-old most recently went up against Kansas City last Friday, when he pitched 8.0 innings of one-run baseball (zero earned) while allowing four hits and two walks to go along with 11 strikeouts during a 4-1 victory for Houston.

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Houston shortstop Carlos Correa (back) could come off the injured list Tuesday. Reliever Josh James boasts 95 strikeouts in 57.1 innings of work this season. Those are just some reasons to like the Astros, but the main one–of course–is Cole. He is on fire right now and generally gets tons of run support from Reddick and company, as well. Texas is 0-7 in its last seven at Houston. The Astros are 45-15 in their last 60 games against left-handed starters, 21-5 in their last 26 at home against left-handed starters, 45-11 in their last 56 at home against opponents with losing road records, and 44-12 in their last 56 against starters with WHIPs over 1.30.

Prediction: Houston Astros

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How good is Cole’s stuff right now? His strikeout totals in his last six outings are 10, 12, 14, 14, 15, and 11. He has reached double-digits in nine of his last 11 starts. This should be a fun duel between Cole and Allard. The under is 27-12-2 in the Rangers’ last 41 on the road and 4-0 in Allard’s last four starts. It is also 4-1 in the Astros’ last five overall and 4-0 in their last four against left-handed starters. Additionally, the under is 6-2 in Texas’ last eight at Houston. Look for this one to stay under the total.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to joining the Winners & Whiners Staff, he worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.