The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros do it all over again tonight after a close meeting last night. It’s always an exciting time in Texas, as the Rangers and Astros vie for bragging rights. Over the course of the last decade, the Rangers have been the better team with more bragging rights.
They’ve been to the World Series, where they ultimately failed, but made it there nevertheless. The Astros did make a World Series in 2005, only to fall to the Chicago White Sox. A little over ten years later, the Astros are beginning to blossom into a contender once again. Not just a team that has the potential to reach the World Series, but make it this time.
They certainly have the formula to garner results like that, but they have yet to show they can be clutch when it matters most in October. They had a coming out party a couple years ago, and then they played a different team in 2016. Nothing comes easy in life and the Astros found it out the hard way as they missed the postseason all together. Money was pouring in on them to win the World Series, but they never came around. This season, though, the Astros have started hard out of the gates.
Last night, the Rangers showed some of their former flare, knocking the Astros off by a score of 4-2. With the win, the Rangers have advanced to .500 at 32-32 and have won five in a row, including two over the Astros. Conversely, the Astros are on a three-game losing streak.
You wouldn’t know it by looking at their records, though. The ‘Stros still hold a record of 44-22 and in firm control of the American League West, with an 11-game lead on the Rangers. It must feel nice for the Rangers to take two from the Astros, but they have nothing to gloat about when it comes to the big picture. Let’s move on to our Rangers vs. Astros pick below.
Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros Pick
Andrew Cashner (3-5, 3.17 ERA) vs. Francis Martes (0-0, 9.82 ERA)
It’s not atypical for good teams to hit a funk, and I’d say they Astros are in a mini-funk after losing three in a row, and losers in four of their last five. Francis Martes will get the first start of his career today against the Rangers. Martes has one appearance, a lone relief job he did against the Angels on the 9th. It didn’t go so well for him.
Note that Martes allowed 4 hits and 4 runs across only 3.2 innings. It equates to an ERA of 9.82 with a 1.64 WHIP. Martes is a 21-year-old prospect, and the Astros are giving him some experience here in Houston because of injuries. However, he struggled in the minors as well. In AAA ball he posted a 5.29 ERA, including a 2.10 WHIP. With that said, for him to pitch well at the major league level would come as a surprise.
Andrew Cashner will start opposite Martes. Cashner is the experienced one in this matchup, which goes without saying. He hadn’t had an ERA under 4.00 since 2014 with the Padres, but he in pace to finally have a strong ERA. Cashner holds a 3.17 ERA, with a 1.39 WHIP.
He is prone to having off outings, though. In two of his last four starts, Cashner allowed 5 runs each. Also, one of those starts coming against the Astros. The ‘Stros are 3rd in MLB, averaging 5.35 runs a game. The Rangers are 13th with 4.78 runs per game.
I think the Rangers can bring that average up in this one against Martes. Martes should get thumped, but Cashner doesn’t have the best history against this lineup. Altuve has a .333 batting average in 9 at-bats, Aoki .316 with 19 at-bats, and Beltran has a .571 in 7 at-bats against Cashner. In total, his OBA is .347 against this lineup. The OVER looks like the pick to me.
PICK: OVER 9.5 (-110)