Colon, Rangers Aim to Upset Verlander, Astros on National TV

Willie Bee

Sunday, April 15, 2018 12:07 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 15, 2018 12:07 PM UTC

Fans of big chalk on the baseball odds will love ESPN’s "Sunday Night Baseball" matchup between Texas and defending World Series champion Houston.

Sunday MLB: Rangers (5-11 SU, 7-8-1 O/U) vs. Astros (10-5 SU, 5-10 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Rangers +305Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3387603, "sportsbooksIds":[19,1252,238,180,139], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Veteran arms are on the mound tonight in the rubber match of the weekend set between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros. ESPN’s cameras start rolling at 8 ET, with Houston's Justin Verlander (2-0. 1.45) delivering the game’s first pitch shortly after, and Bartolo Colon (0-0, 1.64) scheduled for the visitors.

As has become the norm in this rivalry the last year or so, Houston is substantial chalk at -325. Houston was a heavy favorite on the MLB odds board in Friday’s 3-2 win to begin the series, Gerrit Cole and Chris Devenski combining to strike out 17 would-be Texas hitters. The Rangers evened things up Saturday when they rallied from a 5-zip hole to win 6-5 in extra innings as +210 underdogs. The six matchups between Houston and Texas this season have split the totals, with the last dozen at Minute Maid Park running 6-5-1 O/U/P.

Colon’s Last Start In Houston Wasn’t Pretty

Signed to a minor league deal before the season, Colon’s path to this start included getting designated for assignment near the end of spring training, added back to the 40-man roster, starting the Rangers’ fifth game of the season and then making two long relief appearances. Colon, who turns 45 in May, has accumulated 11 innings so far, allowing just one run and whiffing 12. He faced the Astros in Houston once last season while a member of the Braves, and served up three homers as part of a 5.2 IP, 8-ER outing.

Verlander has made eight regular season starts for Houston, and the Astros have come out on top each time. Including his postseason efforts, the Astros are 13-1 when the former MVP and Cy Young winner takes the ball, Verlander pitching to a 1.61 ERA in nearly 90 innings. He blanked the Rangers for six innings on Opening Day in Arlington as -155 chalk on the MLB odds, and is 5-0 in seven starts at Minute Maid Park since coming to Houston, pitching to a 2.47 ERA in 47.1 frames.

Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

Adam Hamari, the youngest and least experienced member of Tom Hallion’s crew, will be at the dish for the series finale. It’s his second plate assignment of 2018, the first one cashing for "over" bettors a week ago in Minnesota. The Michigan native has called balls and strikes four times previously in Houston, those totals splitting at the window.

It should be a Chamber of Commerce day in Houston with sunny skies and the thermometer hitting 70 before cooling into the 60s during the evening, so I expect the roof to be open. Despite Verlander’s track record with the Astros, my free baseball pick is going to be on the Rangers.

comment here