MLB odds have Houston favored handily Wednesday in another "home" game at Tropicana Field, and the Texas Rangers should benefit once again with an upset victory.
MLB Season Record: 68-71-4 (-2.13)
I’d tell you exactly what I think about the Texas Rangers and their GM Jon Daniels, but then the censors here at SBR wouldn’t print those words and I’d only be lowering myself to the level of the Texas franchise. Besides, we have the second game of the series between my beloved Houston Astros and the former Senators to get to.
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Houston’s first "home" game in St. Petersburg on Tuesday went pretty much as I expected as the Rangers throttled the Astros, 12-2. Houston still leads the season series 8-6, and the clubs will go at it again inside a mostly empty Tropicana Field on Wednesday, ESPN’s cameras rolling starting at 7 PM (ET). The mound battle begins with Andrew Cashner (7-9, 3.44) and Dallas Keuchel (11-2, 2.58), BetOnline fitting Houston with -190 chalk and 8½ for the total.
Astros Look To Best Cashner A Fifth Time In 2017
Cashner and Keuchel squared off about 2½ weeks ago in Arlington, which is where these games should have been played, and the resulting duel went to the Astros, 2-1. Houston closed as -135 chalk on the MLB odds and both hurlers posted solid efforts, Cashner taking the loss with seven innings of 2-run baseball and Keuchel working into the seventh -- with Adrian Beltre’s blast the only run Texas managed to put on the board.
Houston has been Cashner’s krypton this season, the Astros beating him four times in as many starts. Texas is 11-7 in his other assignments, Cashner pitching to a 3.06 ERA against the rest of the league. That Aug. 13 win was Keuchel’s second of the season against the evil empire from North Texas, the southpaw surrendering just one run in 12.2 frames. It’s worth pointing out, however, that Keuchel is 0-3 with a 4.90 ERA in four starts at Tropicana Field.
Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Mark Wegner is expected to call balls and strikes tonight, bringing a 12-10-1 O/U/P mark into the contest. If batting last is the true measure of a home team, as MLB pointed out when moving this series to Florida, then the Astros are in good shape with home favorites a very profitable 14-3 in 2017 with Wegner behind the mask.
When the Astros were displaced in 2008 by Hurricane Ike, they were still in the NL Wild Card hunt. Houston promptly lost five in a row to fall out of the postseason chase, and it’s my gut feeling a losing skid is what we’ll see from them again this time. I’m so confident, in fact, that my free baseball pick this evening is a reverse run-line play on Texas.Free MLB Pick: Rangers -1½ Reverse RL (+220)Best Line Offered: BetOnline