The final series of the regular season between the Houston Astros (28-28, 8-20 away) and the Texas Rangers (19-37, 13-13 home) begins Thursday night in Arlington. This will be the second series the two teams have played against each other over the last two weeks.
In the 2020 season, the Astros have a 4-2 head-to-head record against the Rangers as they enter the final four-game set. The first pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. CDT at Globe Life Field. The Astros are favorites in Thursday night’s contest, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Houston Astros
The Houston Astros enter the final series with a .500 record on the season but are almost guaranteed a playoff spot. They hold a two-and-a-half game lead over the Los Angeles Angels for the final playoff spot awarded to the American League West division.
Houston sits seven games behind the first-place Oakland Athletics. The Angels have a three game series with the cross-town rival Dodgers to close out there season. While the league-best Dodgers may rest their starters with the playoffs looming, the Angels will have a tough time against a deep Dodger lineup.
Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA, 0.99 WHIP) takes the mound for the visiting Astros. The 23-year old rookie has started nine games and made appearances in 11 games this season. Javier has fared well in his appearances, allowing 18 earned runs over 48.2 innings of work. The right-hander has collected 48 strikeouts and surrendered 31 hits. He has fared much better at home than on the road; Javier’s home ERA is 2.17, but that number spikes to 5.03 away from Houston.
Offensively, George Springer has seen his average jump from under .200 to .251 in less than a month. The outfielder leads the team with 13 home runs and 28 RBI’s in that span. 23-year old Kyle Tucker has also put together a fantastic offensive campaign in his first season, seeing regular playing time. Tucker is the team leader this year with 42 RBI and 53 hits.
What to Know – Texas Rangers
Texas will finish at the bottom of the division this season in a year that will easily be forgotten for players, coaches, and fans alike. The Rangers enter their final home games having lost six of their last seven games, including a current three-game losing streak. Texas is 15 games behind the division-leading Athletics and sport the worst record in the American League.
The Rangers will send Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) to the mound for the opener. The veteran right-hander has pitched well during the shortened season, making 12 starts and logging 78.1 innings of work. Lynn is tied for the league lead with ten quality starts, and his 84 strikeouts are 12th in the majors.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa has been a bright spot for the anemic Rangers offense, batting .289 with an on-base percentage of .335. Falefa has three home runs and a career-high eight stolen bases this season. Meanwhile, Joey Gallo continues to be a spark plug for the Rangers offense. The slugger has a team-high ten home runs and 25 RBI this season.
The Pick is In
With a win Thursday night, the Astros will punch their ticket to the postseason, affording them the ability to rest their starters over the weekend if needed. With a loss, the pressure of winning and securing a berth would move to Friday night.
Texas is playing for pride at this point, with no chance to improve the final regular-season standings. Lynn can keep the Astros hitters in check, but the offense behind him is a problem. Houston will get a couple of runs across, and it will be all they need to win this one. The pick here is the Astros.