The second half of the Major League Baseball season will begin with a battle of American League West teams. The Houston Astros have been in first place in the division for the majority of the season, but they do have some competition. The Texas Rangers are trying to play their way back into the playoff race in the American League.
Houston was probably sad to see the All-Star Break come when it did because they were playing great baseball. The Astros won seven of their last eight games before the break and come into this game with a record of 57-33. Texas is hoping to use the All-Star Break as a chance to regroup and get back to winning baseball. The Rangers are now 48-42 after losing six of their final eight games before the break. Texas is +114 in the series opener against the Astros.
Astros Have Plenty of Offense
The Houston Astros have one of the best lineups in baseball, and they can score runs in a hurry. Leftfielder Michael Brantley is leading the team with a .324 batting average and was rewarded with a trip to the All-Star Game. All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman leads the team with 23 home runs and 56 runs batted in. The Astros are very tough on opposing pitchers, and that should be the case in the second half of the season as well.
Framber Valdez is expected to make the start for the Astros on Thursday night, and Houston needs him to pitch better. Valdez started the season in the bullpen but has been put into the starting rotation of late. The young left-hander is just 3-4 with a 4.57 earned run average this season.
Lynn Pitching Well For Rangers
One of the biggest reasons for the recent resurgence of the Texas Rangers has been the starting pitching. Lance Lynn will make the start for the Rangers in the series opener, and he has been terrific of late. The former St. Louis Cardinals starter brings a record of 11-4 into this game to go along with an ERA of 3.41. Lynn has won his last five decisions and pitched seven strong innings against the Astros earlier this season.
The Rangers don’t have a ton of big names in their lineup, but they can score a ton of runs. All-Star Joey Gallo launched a home run in the Midsummer Classic and leads the team with 20 home runs. Shortstop Elvis Andrus leads the team with 99 hits and a .303 batting average. The Rangers play in a hitter’s ballpark, and their lineup takes full advantage.
Rangers Win Behind Lynn
The Houston Astros were well-represented in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, and that won’t give many of their players much of a break. Houston is a much better team overall, but the pitching matchup favors the Rangers in this game. Lynn will pitch well in leading the Rangers to a series-opening win on Thursday night. Bet the Texas Rangers +114 over the Houston Astros.