It’s round-two in the battle of Texas as the Rangers look to continue their domination over the hapless Astros at Minute Maid Park. Houston will be looking to snap both a seven-game home losing streak against the defending AL Champions.
Colby Lewis (6-7, 4.44) gets the start
for the Rangers while Brett Myers (3-6, 4.55) takes the ball for the Astros
(28-52) who have lost four straight and seven of their last eight games.
last appearance came against Texas on June 21 when he received a no-decision
despite giving up just two run in six innings. Lewis opened as a -138 favorite
with the total at 8.5. First pitch is set for 8:05 PM ET with partly cloudy skies,
light winds and 70 degree temperatures in the forecast.
Last night the Rangers who were priced
at -159 beat the Astros 7-3 for their third win in four interleague meetings
this year. Winning pitcher C.J. Wilson (8-3) surrendered just two runs and
seven hits over seven innings while Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Mitch
Moreland homered for Texas. Michael Bourn led the Astros with two hits and two
runs scored while recording his league leading 34th stolen base.
Tougher than expected
The Rangers were the preseason favorites
to win the title in the American League West but it’s proving to be easier said
than done. So far Texas (42-38) hasn’t been able to produce the type of
extended winning streak that’s needed to create some distance. Halfway through
the season it’s a division that’s still up for grabs with the Rangers lead the
second-place Angels by two games with the Mariners 2.5 games back.
Lewis vs. Myers
Colby Lewis blanked the Astros over
seven innings in his last start allowing just three hits and while striking out
eight but received a no-decision in a 5-3 loss on June 22. He’s given up just
five earned runs in 25 1/3 innings lifetime against the Astros.
Brett Myers opposed Lewis in that game
and he also came away with a no-decision despite allowing two runs in six
innings. He’s got no record but a sky-high 7.88 ERA in two previous outings
against the Rangers.
Bad to the bone
The Astros are hands down the worst team
in baseball. Houston is 24 games under .500 and 16 games behind first-place
Milwaukee in the National League Central Division. They’re 3-7 in interleague
play and have a stunning 16-40 record against right-handers. Houston also has
the worst home record in baseball at 13-29.
The Rangers have won 13 of their last 16
games against the Astros outscoring them 43-19. In addition Josh Hamilton since
joining the Rangers in 2008 is batting .478 with six homers against them.
Hamilton is also a .419 lifetime hitter at Minute Maid Park.
Over and out
MLB odds boards are listing the Rangers as -145 favorites tonight, and have set the total at 8.5, and both numbers remain unchanged at the moment. I am going to avoid the Money Line here and focus on the 'Total'.
The Astros pitching staff is last in the
National League with a 4.67 ERA while the bullpen is even worse at 4.87. I
mention that because the ‘pen has been the key reason that the ‘over’ has
cashed in 27 of Houston’s 42 home games. I stress that is the only category in which baseball bettors should ever
bet the Astros who are -1850 units on the money line (-1612 at home) and -1856
on the run line. Fade if you must but otherwise avoid at all costs.
Harvey’s Take: Play the ‘over’. I could take the
easy way out and place a wager on Texas but truthfully I’m not sold on Lewis.
While Myers has had his moments I think both pitchers will be ripe for the
picking tonight. If Houston has to go to it's bullpen this should be an easy