The Texas Rangers begin a weekend series with the Houston Astros on Friday night. Houston holds the edge in the season series, 8-6, after winning the last two meetings between the two American League West clubs.
The Rangers are currently 50-46 this season and in third place in the American League West division. On a four-game losing streak, Texas will be looking to get back on track against the Houston Astros. The last time the Rangers and Astros faced each other, Houston took the win 12-4.
Left-handed pitcher Mike Minor will be getting the start for the Rangers in this matchup. Minor gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings in his last outing, where he did not factor into the decision. The 31-year-old is now 8-4 this season with a good-looking 2.73 ERA and 121 strikeouts. He has also won five of his last six decisions.
The Rangers have had various contributors on offense leading the team. Centerfielder Joey Gallo leads the team in home runs with 22 so far this season. The team’s shortstop, Elvis Andrus, leads the team with his .296 batting average. Nomar Mazara is currently leading the team in runs batted in with 51.
Texas is batting .251 as a team with 137 home runs and a 5.03 ERA. They were outmatched by Houston in a big way in their last meeting, but with Houston’s growing IL list and Minor on the mound, the Rangers will be looking for a different result.
Houston is sitting in first place in the AL West 5.5 games over the second-place Oakland A’s. They will be at home for this matchup, where they have had a ton of success this season, going 33-14. Houston is in a good spot in the standings, but with their injury list is growing they will look to hold on to their top spot with guys stepping up and taking on more responsibility.
Starting for the Astros will be the All-Star starter, veteran Justin Verlander. Verlander has had another outstanding season this year, going 11-4 so far with a 2.98 ERA and 160 strikeouts. He allowed just two runs on four hits over six innings while earning the victory in his last outing against the Rangers. Verlander has enjoyed success against most teams this year, and the Rangers are no different. This game should give us a great pitching battle between Verlander and Minor.
As I have mentioned earlier, the Astros have been dealing with the injury bug of late. Carlos Correa, Aledmys Diaz, Brad Peacock, Yordan Alvarez, and Brady Rodgers are all currently on the IL to some extent. They have been relying on others to step up and keep the team rolling. One of those players is their third baseman, Alex Bregman. The 25-year-old is currently leading the team in home runs with 24 along with runs batted in with 60. Look for him to continue to be a vital part of their offense moving forward until they can get the full roster on the field at once.
What to Expect
This game should provide a good pitchers duel that will result in a low-scoring, close game. With Houston at home and Verlander on the mound, look for Houston to take the win once again over the Rangers.
My pick: Astros and Under