The Houston Astro’s look to continue the momentum against the Texas Rangers after snapping their 3 game losing streak with a 9-4 win over the Marlins on Sunday. Can Javier and the Astro’s continue to dominate the AL West? Here is our complete preview, prediction and breakdown.
Astro’s End 3 Game Skid
The Houston Astro’s went on the road in a mini slump but are still easily controlling the AL West (currently posting a 37-23 record) with an 8.5 game lead over the Angels and Rangers. Ace, Justin Verlander helped secure a win for the Astro’s on Sunday going 7 innings and allowing 4 runs on 3 hits. Offensively second baseman Jose Altuve led the Astro’s in Sunday’s game going 3-5 including a home run and 3 RBI’s. They will have to leave home for this series against the Rangers but won’t be going far.
The Astro’s are just 5-5 in their last 10 games and 2-3 in their last 5 but cannot be counted out. In their last 5 games the team is still batting .281 averaging 4.4 runs per game whilst the pitching staff is throwing a combined ERA of 3.20 and WHIP of 1.11.
Taking the Mound for the Astro’s is right-hander Christian Javier who is currently posting a record of 3-3 over 44.2 innings of work, leaving him with a 3.22 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and a 56/16 strike to walk count. Overall Javier has pitched well having multiple starts this season with 0 runs allowed. He is coming off his worse start of the season in which he allowed 5 runs in 6 hits against the Mariners. Last time up against the Rangers however he allowed just 1 run on 3 hits through 6 innings. I am not worried about Javier’s ability to bounce back after a bad outing. He allowed 7 runs on 8 hits to Washington earlier this season and answered with a 6 innings, 3 hits, 1 run performance the following game.
The Astro’s should be in a good position in this game.
The Texas Rangers are currently in battle for 2nd place in the AL West with Los Angeles Angels. I say battle, but both teams are recording .475 winning percentages so it actually isn’t all that great of a fight. Texas managed to take 2 of the 3 games in their series against the White Sox (in Chicago) finishing with a 8-6 win in 12 innings on Sunday. Jon Gray pitched one of his better pieces of work whilst on the Rangers going 6 complete innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits. The Rangers bullpen nearly lost them the game twice, blowing Gray’s 3-1 lead and they coughing up a lead generated by 3rd basemen Ezekiel Duran in the 11th.
The Rangers are just 4-6 in their last 10 games but are 3-2 in their last 5. As a team they are batting a solid .260 in this last 5 games managing 4.5 runs per game. The concern for the Rangers is their before mentioned pitching staff, who over this same stretch is posting a 5.44 ERA and 1.58 WHIP.
The Rangers are turning to left-handed pitcher Taylor Hearn who has struggled this season. Hearn is posting a 4-4 record over 50 innings of work, resulting in a 5.40 ERA and 1.66 WHIP. Hearn has struck out 47 batters and allowed 25 to walk. The Rangers will most likely need to Hearn to go deeper into the game after going into extra innings in two games against the White Sox, meaning they have had to work their already struggling bullpen to the bone whom are likely feeling the fatigue now. Hearn hasn’t shown me anything to make me believe he can put in 6-7 innings of solid work against this Astros team. He has allowed 3 or more runs in each of his last 5 starts including a 4 run, 6 hit game against the Astro’s.
Astro’s Take Game 1
The Astro’s will manage to turn their 3 game losing streak into a 2 game win streak with a win over the Rangers on Monday. The Astros are batting at .317 in their last 5 games against left-handed pitches and have already shown they can hit on Taylor Hearn. With the Rangers bullpen being depleted from two extra-inning games and hungry Astro’s team not having to travel far, I’m backing the Astro’s to get this won done and deliver us a nice payday. Take Houston on the money line.
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Thanks for reading, Dave Covers Spreads