The AL West rival Houston Astros and Texas Rangers drew the short end of the stick from Major League Baseball this year. Why? They get one fewer day off than the rest of the teams in the league from the All-Star break as Astros-Rangers is the only game on the schedule Thursday night as the second half resumes. It’s an early pick’em on the MLB Betting Lines.
Astros vs Rangers MLB Spread & Prediction
- When: Thursday, 8 PM ET
- Where: Globe Life Park in Arlington
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Framber Valdez/Lance Lynn
- TV: ESPN
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
- Radio: 105.3 The Fan
- MLB Spread: Houston Astros -1.5 (Total 11)
Why Bet on Houston?
The Astros remain without infielders Aledmys Diaz and Carlos Correa. While both are expected to be back soon, neither has begun a rehab assignment yet.
Houston’s Yuli Gurriel was named AL Player of the Week for last week. It marks the second career such award for the Cuban. Last week, Gurriel hit .429 with a double, six homers, 13 RBI and a 1.812 OPS in five games, four of which were Astros victories.
He led all AL players last week in RBI (13) and slugging percentage while being tied for first in home runs (6). Gurriel became just the fifth player in Astros history to homer in five straight games (Wed.-Sun), joining Jose Altuve (2019), Morgan Ensberg (2006), Carlos Beltran (2004) and Cliff Johnson (1975). Gurriel also became the first player in franchise history to record a run and an RBI in seven straight games.
In an ideal world, the Astros would star ace and Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander here, but he started Tuesday night for the American League in the All-Star Game so the team wants to give him a bit more rest. Verlander and fellow ace Gerrit Cole have pitched in consecutive games for nearly the entire season, but manager AJ Hinch said he’ll experiment with separating their starts. Cole is expected to start Friday and Verlander Sunday.
“They do have some similar attributes, but they’re also different in a lot of ways,” Hinch said. “Putting (Wade Miley) between Cole and Verlander is probably the most drastic difference I can go three in a row. I don’t know if it stays like that the whole time, but we’re going to take a look at it.”
So, it’s probably rookie Framber Valdez after fellow rookie Jose Urquidy was optioned back to Triple-A on Wednesday. Urquidy allowed seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk over his first six innings (two starts) at the MLB level. Valdez would be on regular rest and was intentionally limited to three innings in his most recent outing at Triple-A Round Rock. He struck out seven in that one. The 25-year-old right-hander holds a 4.57 ERA and 41/19 K/BB ratio in 45 1/3 total innings this year with Houston.
- Runs: 5.09
- Hits: 9.19
- Walks: 3.79
- Strike Outs: 6.93
- Runs: 4.08
- Hits: 7.44
- Walks: 2.80
- Strike Outs: 10.00
Why Bet on Texas?
With 90 games in the books, Texas is the surprising owner of a 48-42 mark. On Opening Day, the Rangers not only had the lowest preseason playoff odds in the American League West, but it was also one of the lowest in baseball. They entered this year with just a 0.6% chance of reaching October for the first time since 2016 but now are right in the wild-card race.
Joey Gallo homered in his only plate appearance Tuesday in the 2019 MLB All-Star Game. Gallo had to bow out of the Home Run Derby because he just returned from an oblique strain at the end of June. On Tuesday, the 25-year-old slugger smashed a first-pitch laser over the right-field wall in the bottom of the seventh inning against Giants left-hander Will Smith, who has allowed just two total home runs to left-handed hitters over the last three seasons. The ball came off Gallo’s bat with an exit velocity of 111.5 mph, the hardest hit in an All-Star Game since Statcast began tracking such data in 2015. It was the first home run by a Rangers player in the All-Star Game since Mark Teixeira in 2005 at Detroit.
It’s Lance Lynn (11-4) for Texas. Lynn allowed two runs on nine hits over seven innings in last Thursday’s win over the Angels. Lynn yielded nine hits over his seven innings but eight of those were singles, with Mike Trout’s solo homer in the first inning coming as the only extra-base hit. That, paired with the fact that he didn’t walk a batter and struck out five, helped him keep the Angels to two runs despite a few ducks on the pond throughout the contest. He’s won his last five decisions dating back to the beginning of June. The right-hander also got his ERA below 4.00 for the first time this year, coming out of the break with a 3.91 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 123/26 K/BB ratio across 115 innings of work. Lynn is currently second in pitcher fWAR this season, trailing only Max Scherzer (5.5).
Lynn is 9-2 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in his last 13 starts. He is averaging 4.73 strikeouts per walk, which ranks eighth best in the American League. He lost his only start against the Astros this season, but he is 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA in seven career starts against them.
- Runs: 5.39
- Hits: 8.69
- Walks: 3.51
- Strike Outs: 10.00
- Runs: 5.12
- Hits: 9.31
- Walks: 3.48
- Strike Outs: 8.44
Astros vs Rangers MLB Betting Trends
- Astros are 4-9 in their last 13 games vs. a right-handed starter
- Rangers are 5-1 in Lynn’s last 6 starts vs. a team with a winning record
- Astros are 1-4 SU in their last 5 games when playing on the road against Texas
- The total has gone OVER in 4 of Houston’s last 6 games on the road
- Rangers are 2-6 SU in their last 8 games against an opponent in the American League
- The total has gone OVER in 13 of Texas’ last 19 games played in July
Expert Final Score Prediction for Astros vs Rangers
Houston Astros 5 – Texas Rangers 6