MLB Pick: Rangers Set To Outslug Astros Saturday Night

Jay Pryce

Saturday, May 21, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

The Rangers will continue its recent mastery over the Astros Saturday night, when Cesar Ramos squares off against veteran Mike Fiers. Get your free MLB pick with analysis here. 

Texas Rangers (23-19) – César Ramos (0-2, 4.32 ERA)
The Rangers own this AL West rivalry of late. Dating back to last season, manager Jeff Banister's men are 17-6 versus the Astros; 6-4 at Minute Maid Park. Texas is hurting Houston pitching for 5.5 runs on 10.1 hits per game during this span.

The Rangers are at their most impressive in the intrastate matchup when the meeting is an expected slugfest. With an over-under greater than 8, Texas is 14-1, scoring 6.7 runs per game.

Bannister turns to journeyman César Ramos to continue the run today. Owning a seven-year MLB career, the southpaw has bounced back and forth between Class AAA and the bigs for much of the time. Typically working out of the bullpen, he's making just his 13th career start, and third for the Rangers this season.

Teams are 5-7 SU when Ramos gets the honor in his career. His Rangers debut on April 25 against the Yankees, of which he took the loss in a 3-1 defeat, was his first and only quality start lifetime.

Ramos has faced several batters on Houston's current roster, allowing no extra-base hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts in 25 plate appearances. Outfielder Colby Rasmus has squared off against the left-hander most, going 3 for 7 with two walks.

Knocking in 4.48 runs per game, Texas hitters blast pitchers with high ERAs. Against starters carrying a 4.00 mark or higher, the team is 12-6, scoring 5.1 runs per game.


 

Houston Astros (17-26) – Mike Fiers (3-1, 4.63 ERA)
Houston’s .395 winning percentage is the lowest in the AL behind the abysmal Twins. Poor pitching dooms last year’s Wild Card winners. Gifting 4.74 runs per game, the staff allows the most opponent at-bats (35.30) and second-most hits (9.53) per game in MLB. The future may be looking brighter for the rotation, though. It has put in three quality efforts in a row, yielding 3, 2, and 2 runs since Wednesday.

Mike Fiers, who gets the nod tonight, hopes to continue the staffs mini-run of good performances. The Astros have won four of his last five outings, supporting the former Brewers right-hander with 8.0 runs on 10.0 hits per game. He and the pen allow 3.8 runs per contest during this stretch.

Fiers earned a no-decision in his only career start against the Rangers. Pounded for six earned runs on seven hits in five frames. As a whole, the current Texas roster is 9 for 32 (.281) batting with 12 strikeouts and one walk.

Houston is just 2-7 against left-handed starters this season, crossing the plate 3.1 times per game. The trend stretches back to September of last season where it is 6-17 overall; 4-12 as chalk.

 

Final Analysis
This game has a real chance to turn into a runfest, and it wouldn't shock if each starter failed to get through five frames. Both teams hit the others bullpen well, too. The Astros' support yield a .272 batting average to Texas hitters, while the Rangers allow a .263 mark. The Over offered by the MLB odds is appealing here, but missing the hook makes 9 runs a bit too risky to wager with the juice. The price backing Ramos and company is valuable, though. We'll pounce on the Rangers +135 to continue its dominance over the Astros as our free MLB pick.

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Free MLB Pick:  Rangers +135
Best Line Offered:  at Heritage
Record: 69-47-1 (-107); MLB YTD: 12-6 (-106)