Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Pick 7/3/18
The Lone Star state baseball rivalry is renewed as the Astros and Rangers hook horns in Arlington Tuesday night (8:05 ET). Which way are we playing this contest with our daily free MLB picks?
The MLB Betting Line
Tuesday’s MLB betting odds opened Houston and Dallas Keuchel at around -170 over Texas and Austin Bibens-Dirkx, with an over/under of 10.5 runs. Both those figures were holding steady in early betting.
The Astros could also be found at around -120 giving the 1.5 runs on the run line at most shops with the best line of -115 avaiable at 5Dimes.
Houston just dropped the last three games of a four-game series at Tampa over the weekend, falling Sunday 3-2. The Astros scored a total of seven runs in the series, all coming by home runs.
Prior to that, though, Houston had won six series in a row.
At 55-31 Houston leads the AL West by a half-game over second-place Seattle. The Astros also trail Boston by two games in the battle for the best record in the American League.
Texas, meanwhile, just took two of three games from the White Sox over the weekend, missing out on the sweep by losing Sunday 10-5. The Rangers scored 11 runs on 12 hits Friday and 13 runs on 13 hits Saturday.
So Texas has taken five series in a row and won 11 of its last 14 games.
Still, at 38-47 Texas sits 16.5 games back in the AL West and trails the Mariners by 16 games in the fight for the second American League wild-card spot.
The Astros lead this season series 10 games to four.
On the personnel front Houston SS Carlos Correa is on the DL with a sore back and OF George Springer is iffy for this series as he also deals with a bad back.
Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 3.57) is one-for-four on quality starts this season, but he’s been pretty good his last couple of times out. Last Tuesday he held San Diego scoreless on two hits through five innings, although he walked four, and just before that he held Kansas City to one run through 6 2/3 innings. Texas is 2-2 with Bibens-Dirkx this year, with the unders going 2-1.
This will be Bibens-Dirkx’s first-ever start vs. Houston, which could give him an edge, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.
Keuchel (4-8, 4.22), by our strict standards, is 8/17 on quality starts this year, and two for his last three. Last Wednesday he got nicked for six runs through 5 1/3 innings against Toronto, but in his two starts previous to that, both against the Royals, he allowed just two unearned runs through 12 innings. The Astros, a team that’s 24 games over .500 overall, are only 8-9 with Keuchel this season, with the overs going 8-7.
In three starts this year against the Rangers Keuchel has allowed eight ER through 17 1/3 innings. Houston is 2-1 in those games, with the unders going 2-1.
Tuesday’s Batting Splits
The Astros rank 5th in the Majors against right-handed pitching with a .257 team batting average, 3rd with a .331 team OBP and 6th with a .430 team slugging percentage.
Texas ranks 13th against left-handed pitching with a .251 BA, 10th with a .332 OBP and 11th with a .419 slugging percentage.
The numbers alone might give Houston an edge with the sticks in this match-up, but we’ll call it a wash, with Astros bats running a bit cold at the moment.
The Houston bullpen ranks 2nd in the ML with a 2.58 ERA and 1st with a 1.03 WHIP, while going 19/29 on save opportunities.
The Rangers pen ranks 11th in ERA at 3.72 and 10th in WHIP at 1.27 while going 24/33 on save chances.
We’ll give the Astros the check-mark in the comparison of the bullpens.
The overs are 26-16 in games played at Globe Life Park this season, which are averaging 10.8 runs per, second-most in the Majors.
Houston is 8-3-1 on the unders over its last 12 games because while Astros pitching has been pretty good, the bats have been a bit quiet.
The unders are 9-5 in this season series, as Houston-Texas games have averaged just 7.6 runs per.
Free MLB Picks
The Rangers are playing better ball as of late, while Houston’s lost three in a row, as bats have gone cold. Also, the line on this game seems inflated, considering Keuchel is not the pitcher he was when he won the Cy Young a couple years back. We’re taking home-dogged Texas in this spot, plus the tempting price.