The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros played to a 3-2 final on Friday, with the Astros grabbing the first of the weekend series. It isn’t the Yankees and Red Sox, but the Rangers and Astros have generated a nice inter-state rivalry. More so now that the ‘Stros are a good team. They played second fiddle to the Rangers for years, but not only did the Astros match them, they surpassed them and went on to win a World Series. The Rangers were consistently good, while they flirted with a championship. Not the case for the Astros who were losers at the bottom of the league for many years. However, just like that, in what felt like an instant, the Astros were on top of the baseball world.
The Astros have been trending up and the Rangers trending down at the same time. Texas did nothing a season ago and are on pace to do nothing again in 2018. The Rangers are off to a 4-11 start. You can file them into the garbage bin and it’s only mid-April. I could have told you this a few months ago, though. Mike Minor will look to get the Rangers in the win column on Saturday. Minor, who has spent most of his career with the Braves, is in his first-year with the Rangers. I’m not sure what it is, but it feels like Minor has been around forever, like a lot longer than 2010 when he arrived in the majors. He spent his career as a reliever in Kansas City last season and did well. It was his first major league action since 2014. But he’s back now to being what he originally was, a starter. Head below for our free Rangers vs. Astros pick.
Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros Pick
Mike Minor (1-1, 2.53 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (2-0, 0.00 ERA)
Beyond Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, there are some other pitchers on the Houston pitching staff who know how to throw a baseball. Charlie Morton is one of the more unsung talented pitchers in the Astro rotation. He posted an ERA of 3.62 a year ago, across 25 starts. For the better part of his career in Pittsburgh, Morton was a solid option. He had up and downs, but Morton is a great guy to stash in the middle of a rotation. With the Astros, he doesn’t need to be depended on to carry the load with the bevy of other guys on their roster. Morton has looked like the best, though, allowing no runs in each of his two starts in 2018. Across 12 innings of work, Morton has allowed 7 hits and 0 runs for a perfect ERA of 0.00.
Going back to last season, Morton has given up just 1 run in four starts. In his last ten appearances, he has allowed less than 2 runs 70% of the time. Minor has been pitching well too, with a 2.53 ERA. It isn’t quite Morton, but Minor has been good in his first-year as a starting pitcher since 2016. The Astros have been hitting lefties better this season. Minor has already faced the Astros, allowing only 2 runs in 4.2 innings. However, the Astros will be able to get a good look at him again. The last time Minor was a starter, all the way back in 2014, he yielded a 4.77 ERA. I worry more about the Rangers’ offense against Morton, though. The Rangers have lost five in a row, averaging just 2.4 runs per game. Understandable, because they are 29th in the majors with just 3.07 runs scored per game. The Astros should be able to pull away from the Rangers in this one on Saturday.