June 12 Odds: Take Texas in Lone Star State Upset in Houston

Doug Upstone

Monday, June 12, 2017 3:13 PM UTC

Monday, Jun. 12, 2017 3:13 PM UTC

Texas will be after payback after being swept by Houston at home earlier this month. The Rangers might be in the right frame of mind and situation to at least take the series vs. their rivals. And that includes Monday's opener. 

Texas has to be feeling spry after a road sweep at Washington over the weekend, while partly because of injuries to their starting staff the Astros have lost four of six and are off a home series defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.

Houston still has the best record in baseball and no team in its division is over .500, so the MLB odds of the Astros being caught in the AL West is remote; nonetheless, they want to be domineering. While domineering might be too strong of a word, my recent 10-4 record is at least nicely profitable.


Pitching Matchup:  Darvish Vs. Musgrove

Texas ace Yu Darvish (5-4, 3.18 ERA) has lost three straight starts, and he can only blame himself. The right-hander is only permitting a .205 batting average, but the command is not in place. Two aspects are holding him back, starting with the control. Darvish is still striking out better than a hitter an inning, but his walks and more particularly his pitch count is way up, and twice in his past four starts has only lasted five innings while reaching triple digits in pitches. He also has left too many pitches in the zone, permitting 12 home runs in only 82 innings, a career-worst rate. Darvish is 4-5 (3.62 ERA) career against Houston.

Joe Musgrove (4-4, 4.89) is back off the DL after a shoulder ailment, and Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he will be closely monitoring the right-hander. Musgrove has not been hard to solve in allowing a .289 batting average and has been taken over the fence nine times in just 53 1/3 innings. He is 1-2 with 5.40 ERA vs. Texas in four starts.


Texas Coming Around, Houston Needs Pitching

Having Adrian Beltre back seems to have solidified the Texas lineup. In the Rangers' last five outings they have scored 29 times. With Beltre in the thick of the action, he's batting .333 with an OBP of .410 since returning from a calf injury suffered this spring. Maybe this will allow Rougned Odor (.206 BA) and Mike Napoli (.192 BA and on the DL) to relax and start hitting better.

Do not blame the offense for Houstonls mini-slump, as it has averaged 5.1 runs a game during the 2-4 spell. With the lack of success by the Astros' starting pitchers, the bullpen has been exposed and been thrown off how Houston prefers to play. With the Rangers and Red Sox in H-Town this week, this could be interesting week for the 'Stros.


Betting Odds, History & Bullpen Numbers

If you are making MLB picks, you need to know Houston is down to a -115 favorite with total of 8.5. The Astros are 6-1 this season against Texas; however, since 2015 the Rangers at 13-9 at Minute Maid Park. With its recent struggles, Houston has slipped to sixth in ERA in the AL while Texas has improved from dead last to 11th.


The Winner Is ...

There are several easy-to-comprehend reasons to back Houston in this spot, yet I like what Texas is doing, who it has for tonight's starting pitcher and the improvement of bullpen and offense. Though this angle is hardly littered with history, the Rangers are 5-0 in road contests vs. teams averaging 1.25 or more homers game this season, and I like their position.

Free MLB Play: Rangers +105Best Line Offered: Heritage

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