It’s Teacher Appreciation Night at Minute Maid Park tonight in Houston, which means, well, pretty much nothing. If you’re a teacher, I have to assume you get a free ticket to the game tonight. It’s 1 dollar hot dog night on Wednesday, so if that’s your thing and you are in the area, by all means.
This should be a fun series though, as the two rivals in Texas battle it out for four games. The Astros will look to improve to 17-9 tonight, following an easy 7-2 win against the Athletics on Sunday.
In the last two years, the Astros have been at the highest of highs, and then feeling the lows of disappointment. The ‘Stros were the surprise darling of 2015, with a trip to the postseason, the future was looking bright.
No other year than the 2016 season, as the hoped to build up momentum from their playoff run. In fact, the Astros were a top team to win the World Series. They were being bet heavily to win it all, but then the season started, and they could never find their footing.
The Blues Jays are starting out like the Astros did last season. The general perception was that the Astros were going to snap out of it and go on a roll, but it never developed. Here with the Blue Jays, I think people are expecting the Jays to just break out of their trance as well, and unsurprisingly, it just doesn’t work out that way on occasion.
For the Astros, though, they haven’t been slow starters out of the gate in 2017. They are looking for 17-9 and to improve on their 3-game lead in the AL West. It would also tie them with the Nationals for the most wins in MLB. The Nats don’t play today, so it opens the door for that scenario, as meaningless as it is.
The Rangers have to get going, and what better way to do it over the next four days against their instate rival. Andrew Cashner will look to get the four-game series started out well. Conversely, the Astros will counter with Lance McCullers. Get our first MLB pick of May, with our selection below.
Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros Pick
Andrew Cashner (0-2, 2.93 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers (2-1, 4.34 ERA)
This season has been a tale of two stories for McCullers. One pitching on the road, and then another pitching at Minute Maid. McCullers has been getting shelled on the road, but in Houston he’s been dynamite. Note that he holds an ERA of 9.64 ERA on the road this season, and at home he owns a 1.83 ERA. During his career in Houston for three seasons, his ERA is 2.12, contrasted with 4.84 on the road. So, it’s a healthy sample size.
However, McCullers has struggled mightily against the Rangers in his career. In three starts, he’s posted an ERA of 8.03 with a 0-3 record. The Rangers also play the Astros hard. Note that they’re 45-29 over them when they meet in Houston, one of their best road records against any team in the majors.
It makes sense here, as it’s a short trek from Arlington to Houston, and you’ll find plenty of Ranger fans at Minute Maid. Andrew Cashner has been solid in three outings, posting a 2.93 ERA, but he’s been a little wild at times and needs to limit the walks. He owns a 3.97 ERA against the Astros in his career. The ‘Stros should be favorites in this game, but not at -200 or thereabouts depending on your book. I think this presents an excellent opportunity to get on the Rangers. As extra insurance, we’re getting decent on the +1.5. We like the Rangers for our Rangers vs. Astros pick on Monday.
PICK: RANGERS +1.5 (-120)