The Houston Astros got back on track with a 11-2 shellacking of the Texas Rangers last night. They dropped a 7-5 decision in the series finale against the Angels on the 24th, but came back last night on fire and put up 11 runs. Dallas Keuchel will look to keep it going for the Astros on Tuesday. Houston has 96 wins to the Indians 98, and have played two more games than the Indians. In other words, Cleveland has the inside track for homefield advantage in the American League. Elsewhere, the wildcard race is shaping up. The Twins hold a 5-game lead over the Angels now.
Only a few weeks ago, there were seven or eight teams playing within five games of one another, the race was wide open. That has changed drastically. It looks clear at this point that it’s going to be the Yankees and Twins in the play-in-game. I was expecting lots of drama over the final two or three days for this wildcard, but it looks like there won’t be any guessing in the end. The good teams know how to pull away from the competition, and the Twins are widening the gap. Here is a team that lost 103 games last season.
As far as the Rangers are concerned, that ship sailed away already. Barring a small miracle, the Rangers are out of the wildcard picture. They are currently 6 games behind the Twins, so basically, they must hope for the Twins to lose a lot, and keep winning themselves. Lots of things must go right for them. The Rangers have gone 0-4 in their last four games, so nobody to blame but themselves. Cole Hamels will look to help out tonight, but if the offense doesn’t get going it won’t matter. Head below for our free Astros vs. Rangers pick.
Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers Pick
Dallas Keuchel (13-5, 2.96 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.80 ERA)
The offense has been stuck in a hole for the Rangers, at the worst time possible. In their last four games, they’ve scored just 4 runs in total. Additionally, they allowed 18 runs in their last two games. The last time the Rangers won a ball game was when Hamels was on the mound, a 4-2 final against the Mariners. He’s been overall this season with a 3.80 ERA, and a strong number of 2.53 in his last three outings. Hamels is also coming off a terrific performance against the ‘Stros on August 11th, allowing no runs and just 3 hits across 7 innings. Further, Hamels hasn’t lost a game at home all season long.
Keuchel had a disaster against the Rangers at home on the 30th, allowing 6 runs in 6 innings. However, the last time he was in Arlington he was flawless, giving up just 1 run in 6.2 innings pitched. He’s been good against Rangers’ hitters overall with a .229 batting average against. Keuchel was good in his last time on the hump, allowing 2 runs to the White Sox, but he got no run support and lost the game. The UNDER has gone 7-3 in the Astros past ten games and the same for the Rangers. I’d go with a pick on the UNDER in this one, getting an attractive number with two aces going head-to-head on Tuesday. I think this should be more like an 8.5.
PICK: UNDER 9.5 (-120)