Rangers to Continue Dominance of Astros in Houston

andrew cashner

Willie Bee

Monday, May 1, 2017 12:51 PM GMT

Houston escaped facing its nemesis in April, but the Astros begin May as big favorites Monday on the MLB odds against a Texas Rangers team that has owned them in the past.

MLB Season Record: 8-18 (-11.19)

Get along little doggie, we're heading to the corral otherwise known as Minute Maid Park in Houston for the season's first roundup between the Astros and Texas Rangers. Too much corny Lone Star State stuff for ya?

Well, too bad. While ESPN's cameras may be on the O's and BoSox tonight, the fact remains that the biggest of all series to begin May is in Texas as the Astros look to prove they can unseat the Rangers in the AL West. Houston begins May on top of the division with the 3rd best record in the majors, enough for a 5-game lead over their rivals from up I-45. Sportsbooks are in general agreement that the Astros will increase that lead to six full games with Houston priced close to -200 on the money line. BetOnline lists 8½ for the total and favors the 'over' in the pitching matchup between Andrew Cashner and Lance McCullers.

 

Rangers Look For 4th Straight Win Vs. McCullers

Hailing from just north of Houston, Cashner heads into his fourth start of the campaign with a sub-3.00 ERA, which is good. The former TCU star also takes the mound tonight having walked 13 in a little more than 15 innings, which is bad. Those free passes mean extra pitches, which is why Cashner couldn't make it past the fourth inning this past week against the Twins when he was lucky to have only given up two runs as the Rangers dropped an 8-1 decision. This is his first appearance in Houston since 2012, the righty owning a 6.16 ERA in a start and five relief appearances on this mound.

McCullers' 4.34 ERA over his first five assignments is rather pedestrian, but it has been achieved with very disparate home/road splits. In two starts away from Houston, McCullers has allowed 10 runs in 9.1 innings, the latest of those beatings coming last Wednesday in Cleveland. In his three home outings, the 23-year-old has helped the Astros to wins each time by surrendering just four runs in nearly 20 frames. Texas has pounded on McCullers wherever he pitches, beating him in all three starts to a fat 8.03 ERA.

 

Series Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

If the past means the slightest bit, it begs us to bet the Rangers tonight. Texas has nearly a 2:1 advantage all-time against Houston (95-53)  and won 8-of-9 season series from the 'Stros with a 72-28 mark in that stretch. The North Texans have also embarrassed the South Texans in this park (45-29), going 7-2 here a year ago when MLB odds ran 2-6-1 (O/U/P) on the totals.

It should be a nice day and evening in the Bayou City, with clear skies and the thermometer in the low 80s at game time (8:10 PM ET), leading me to believe the roof will be open. I also believe enough in the visitors in this rivalry to make Texas my free baseball pick.

MLB Free Pick: Rangers +188Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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