MLB Picks: Back the Locals in the Astros vs. Rangers Game

Matthew Jordan

Monday, July 7, 2014 5:58 PM GMT

It's not every day you see a baseball total of 10 runs in a game that's not being played in Denver, but that's the case for Tuesday's Game 2 of the Astros-Rangers series in Arlington. Texas has opened as a -118 favorite on MLB odds.

Let The Swap Meet Begin
Now that the Oakland A's and Chicago Cubs have kick-started the MLB trade market with the huge swap of Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from Chicago to Oakland and super-prospect Addison Russell, among others, returning to the Cubs, look for things to heat up all around the game. Certainly the Houston Astros would be among only a few teams that are known sellers. They are probably two years away from realistic playoff contention so just about anyone is available other than All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, pitcher Dallas Keuchel and young slugger George Springer.

The Texas Rangers are an interesting case in whether they will be sellers or buyers. Texas has won at least 90 games in each of the past four years but enters this week 12 games under .500 and double-digit games back in the wild-card chase. Perhaps no team has been  more devastated by injuries this year than Texas, which has lost Prince Fielder, Jurickson Profar and Matt Harrison for the season. The Rangers would have some very valuable trade chips, namely third baseman Adrian Beltre (an All-Star), outfielder Alex Rios, closer Joakim Soria and ace Yu Darvish (an All-Star). The Rangers also think they will be good again next season when everyone's healthy so they won't just trade to trade.

It's highly unlikely Darvish is dealt, but Beltre could go. He has just one season and $18 million left on his deal and is hitting .333 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs. There aren't exactly a glut of good third baseman around the league these days. I would consider it a minor surprise if Soria doesn't get traded. The Detroit Tigers would be a great spot for him to land. They probably will do something now that Oakland has made a big splash.


Probable Pitchers
Right-hander Brad Peacock (2-5, 4.38) starts for the Astros. He's looking for his first victory since June 5, although he has pitched decently since then. Last time out he lost to the Mariners, allowing four runs and six hits over 5.1 innings. Peacock has faced Texas twice. On April 11 in Arlington, he took the loss in relief, allowing a run and walking three over 2.2 innings. Robinson Chirinos hit a walk-off RBI single off Peacock in the bottom of the 12th. On May 12 in Houston, Peacock allowed four runs and eight hits over six innings, striking out a season-high 11, in a loss. Beltre and Rougned Odor both went yard off Peacock. Beltre has two career dingers off him in seven at-bats.

Right-hander Nick Martinez (1-6, 5.10) starts for Texas. He has been one of the worst starters in the majors over the past month or so, going 0-5 with an 8.46 ERA in his last six starts. He was rocked for eight runs (three homers) in five innings last time out against Baltimore. Martinez is 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA at home this season so I'm not really sure why the team keeps throwing him out there. Martinez has pitched three innings of relief against Houston this year, going 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA.

Only a handful of Astros have faced him and none with more than two official at-bats. Matt Dominquez is 2-for-2 with an RBI. Altuve, the American League batting leader, is 0-for-2. The Astros have never had a player win a batting title, which is rather surprising. Jeff Bagwell holds the team record for single-season average at .368, but he finished a distant No. 2 in the National League that strike-shortened season behind the late Tony Gwynn (career-high .394).

MLB free picks: We have quite a few recommendations for MLB betting picks on this game. Rangers -118 on MLB odds and the 'under' 10 at -115. Houston is 1-10 in its past 11 against right-handed starters. Texas is 1-10 in its past 11 Tuesday games. The 'under' is 6-0 in Peacock's past six road starts. The 'under' is 4-0 in Texas' past four at home against right-handers.

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