It’s round-two in the battle of Texas as the Rangers look to continue their domination over the hapless Astros at Minute Maid Park. Houston will be looking to snap both a seven-game home losing streak against the defending AL Champions.

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Colby Lewis (6-7, 4.44) gets the start for the Rangers while Brett Myers (3-6, 4.55) takes the ball for the Astros (28-52) who have lost four straight and seven of their last eight games.

Myers last appearance came against Texas on June 21 when he received a no-decision despite giving up just two run in six innings. Lewis opened as a -138 favorite with the total at 8.5. First pitch is set for 8:05 PM ET with partly cloudy skies, light winds and 70 degree temperatures in the forecast.

Last night the Rangers who were priced at -159 beat the Astros 7-3 for their third win in four interleague meetings this year. Winning pitcher C.J. Wilson (8-3) surrendered just two runs and seven hits over seven innings while Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland homered for Texas. Michael Bourn led the Astros with two hits and two runs scored while recording his league leading 34th stolen base.

Tougher than expected

The Rangers were the preseason favorites to win the title in the American League West but it’s proving to be easier said than done. So far Texas (42-38) hasn’t been able to produce the type of extended winning streak that’s needed to create some distance. Halfway through the season it’s a division that’s still up for grabs with the Rangers lead the second-place Angels by two games with the Mariners 2.5 games back.

Lewis vs. Myers

Colby Lewis blanked the Astros over seven innings in his last start allowing just three hits and while striking out eight but received a no-decision in a 5-3 loss on June 22. He’s given up just five earned runs in 25 1/3 innings lifetime against the Astros.

Brett Myers opposed Lewis in that game and he also came away with a no-decision despite allowing two runs in six innings. He’s got no record but a sky-high 7.88 ERA in two previous outings against the Rangers.  

Bad to the bone

The Astros are hands down the worst team in baseball. Houston is 24 games under .500 and 16 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central Division. They’re 3-7 in interleague play and have a stunning 16-40 record against right-handers. Houston also has the worst home record in baseball at 13-29.

Colby Lewis Texas Rangers

Domination

The Rangers have won 13 of their last 16 games against the Astros outscoring them 43-19. In addition Josh Hamilton since joining the Rangers in 2008 is batting .478 with six homers against them. Hamilton is also a .419 lifetime hitter at Minute Maid Park.

Over and out

MLB odds boards are listing the Rangers as -145 favorites tonight, and have set the total at 8.5, and both numbers remain unchanged at the moment. I am going to avoid the Money Line here and focus on the 'Total'.

The Astros pitching staff is last in the National League with a 4.67 ERA while the bullpen is even worse at 4.87. I mention that because the ‘pen has been the key reason that the ‘over’ has cashed in 27 of Houston’s 42 home games. I stress that is the only category in which baseball bettors should ever bet the Astros who are -1850 units on the money line (-1612 at home) and -1856 on the run line. Fade if you must but otherwise avoid at all costs.

Harvey’s Take: Play the ‘over’. I could take the easy way out and place a wager on Texas but truthfully I’m not sold on Lewis. While Myers has had his moments I think both pitchers will be ripe for the picking tonight. If Houston has to go to it's bullpen this should be an easy ‘over’.