The Astros have been a pesky team while going four games over .500 at home this year and they are treating this series vs. the Rangers like their World Series. Look for an upset as Houston takes the rubber game on Sunday.
The Battle of the Lone Star State is tied 1-1 right now, but look for an upset in the rubber game of this three-game series Sunday when Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers (25-16 overall, 14-7 away) take on Jordan Lyles and the Houston Astros (18-22 overall, 13-9 home) at Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX at 2:05 ET.MLB Pick
The money line at 5 Dimes has Houston as a nice-sized underdog at current odds of +150 for this contest.
The Astros had the worst team in baseball last season with 106 losses and most experts expected them to bring up the rear in the National League Central again this year, but instead they have been very competitive at 18-22 overall and with a winning 13-9 home mark, and they find themselves in third place just four games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals.
The Rangers took the series opener 4-1 on Friday, but the Astros even things up last night by rallying from a 4-0 deficit to win 6-5 while banging out three home runs. That leaves Houston with three wins in the last four games after sweeping a two-game series vs. the Milwaukee Brewers before Texas came to town.
The ‘Stros now turn to Lyles as they attempt the win this Lone Star Series, and he has tossed Quality Starts in each of his two appearances this season while allowing a total of just four earned runs and 10 hits in 12 innings with nine strikeouts. Lyles worked on his rotation during the off season and the results have been excellent so far as he was 5-0 at AAA before his call-up. He has added velocity to his fastball and more tilt to his breaking pitches compared to last year.
The Rangers lead the American League West by five games over the surprising Oakland Athletics, although they are just 3-5 in their last eight games after beginning the year 22-11. They do still lead the Major Leagues in both team batting average (.285) and in runs scored (5.59 per game), although they have been kept relatively in check offensively in the first two games of this series by a more enthusiastic Houston team that is treating this like its World Series.
Now we felt that Lewis was underrated entering this season and he did get off to a good start, but he has not been himself as of late. He has now gone three straight starts without recording a Quality Start, posting an ugly 6.52 ERA and 1.40 WHIP over those outings. That included a very weird outing two starts back vs. the Baltimore Orioles where he allowed five hits and all five of them were home runs, making him the second pitcher in history to accomplish that feat.
Granted Lewis allowed only two runs in two starts vs. the Astros last year, but Houston looks much improved offensively this season and its leading hitter Jose Altuve (.313) was not with the club when Lewis faced the Astros last year. This is not to mention Lewis’s shaky current form.
We see good value today in an Astros’ team that has rewarded its supporters with +7.59 units of profit here at home so far this early season, so look for a nice upset in Houston on Sunday.
: Astros +150