Astros vs Rangers

Astros vs Rangers | Betting Odds for MLB

Written by on May 21, 2021

The Lone Star Series between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers is renewed starting Friday night from Arlington, although it hasn’t been much of a rivalry of late as the Astros have dominated it. They are road favorites on the MLB odds for the opener.

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Why Bet on Houston? | Betting Odds for MLB

Former AL MVP Jose Altuve hit his 138th homer Wednesday, which tied him with Jose Cruz for ninth in home runs in Astros history. Altuve is now just one home run shy of tying Bob Watson (139) for eighth on that all-time list.

Including Altuve’s dinger Wednesday, the Astros have continued to pile up leadoff home runs in their franchise history, hitting 190 total, which ranks third in the Majors since Houston debuted as a franchise in 1962. Dating to 1990, the Astros lead the Major Leagues in that category, thanks in large part to 2B Craig Biggio (53), CF George Springer (39) and Altuve (16).

This season, the Astros lead the Majors average (.271) and rank second in OPS (.771), second in SLG (.435) and third in OBP (.336).

The Astros have three starting pitchers on the injured list and thus will give Tyler Ivey his major league debut on Friday when the right-hander gets a spot start against the Rangers.  Ivey has a funky delivery. His fastball tops out at 95 mph and he has a plus curveball.

The 25-year-old is one of the Astros top prospects and looked strong during limited action in spring training. Ivey has a 3.19 ERA in 52 career Minor League games, including 38 starts. He appeared in two games with Triple-A Sugar Land this year, posting a 7.11 ERA and 1.90 WHIP in 6 1/3 innings. In his last full season in the Minors in 2019, he posted a 1.38 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 52 innings, topping out at Double-A Corpus Christi. Ivey grew up in the Dallas area as a Rangers fan.

“I like what I’ve seen,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “I’m just hoping that the big stage is not too much for him, which I don’t think it will be. He’s a pretty determined young man and borderline stubborn, which I kind of like a little bit. He’ll be pitching in front of his hometown folks, which a lot of times makes you better.”

This is likely only a one-off start for the right-hander given the impressive performance of Luis Garcia and the imminent return of Framber Valdez and Jake Odorizzi.

Why Bet on Texas? | Betting Odds for MLB

Texas has opened 0-4 in the 2021 Lone Star Series for the coveted Silver Boot Trophy. The Rangers are a span in which they play seven of 11 games vs. Houston. The Rangers are 7-20 vs. the Astros since May 9, 2019, but went 3-1 at home last year. Houston has won the Silver Boot for 4 straight seasons.

Kyle Gibson (3-0) gets the call for Texas. Gibson yielded two runs over seven innings on Sunday in a no-decision against the Astros. He wasn’t overpowering in this one, recording only three strikeouts, but he didn’t allow an extra-base hit. Gibson left with the game tied at 2-2, but reliever Joely Rodriguez gave up four runs in the eighth inning.

The 33-year-old veteran righty has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight consecutive starts after a disastrous Opening Day performance. He’ll carry a 2.32 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 44/17 K/BB ratio across 54 1/3 innings (nine starts) into a rematch against the Astros. If you exclude Gibson’s Opening Day start against the Royals where he allowed five runs in just 0.1 innings of work, he would possess an ERA of 1.50 on the season.

It’s been a resurgence Gibson, who signed a three-year deal with the Rangers in December 2019. He made 12 starts and posted a 5.35 ERA with a 2-6 record in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.  Gibson has thrown his new cut fastball 15.2 percent of the time, which has made it the third most common offering in his arsenal so far. He gave up the fifth-most home runs in all of baseball last year. In 2021, the cutter has helped Gibson show some decent improvements.

“The one thing I love about ground balls is that they can’t leave the ballpark,” Gibson said. “I gave away too many home runs last year. So if I can even increase those ground balls, that’s what I’m going to try to do. I think [the cutter] could be a strikeout pitch [and] a ground ball pitch. If I have one emphasis that I want to do this year, just keep the ball in the ballpark and let the defense do the work that they’re really good at doing.”

Gibson is 4-2 with a 2.59 ERA in 10 career games vs. Houston, including 1-0 with a 0.79 ERA over three starts since the beginning of the 2020 season. Overall, Gibson is 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA at home this year.

Expert Prediction

  • Astros 5, Rangers 3

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