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Rangers Are Setting The Pace In The American League West

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 5/9/2013 7:41:35 PM

The Texas Rangers spent the month of April taking the lead in the American League West. They will try to maintain that lead in the month of May, and a series against Houston will test them.

Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Houston Astros
Game 1 – Friday, May 10

Sports betting odds will favor the Rangers over the course of this series, but they’ll be fairly even for this specific matchup. Alexi Ogando is the starter for the Rangers on Friday, and he’ll be opposed by Lucas Harrell of the Astros.

Harrell is one of Houston’s more dependable starters. His earned-run average was below four runs at the beginning of May, and when one realizes how anemic the Astros’ offense has been, you have to give Harrell a bit of extra credit for pitching well even when he knows that a lot of run support won’t come his way. He and Ogando have performed at a similar level of quality this season, so one shouldn’t draw too much from the pitching matchup here.

The batting orders will likely decide this contest, and this is where Texas separates itself from Houston. The Rangers have too much muscle in the middle of their lineup, with Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz getting some help from offseason acquisitions Lance Berkman in the third spot of the lineup and A.J. Pierzynski in the sixth slot. Texas’ bats should be able to take control of this game at some point, giving the Rangers a good start in this Lone Star showdown.

MLB Betting Pick: Texas

Game 2 – Saturday, May 11

When the betting websites break down this contest, they’re not going to give a good, long look at Houston’s chances. The Astros might be able to steal Friday night’s opener, but their prospects for game two are quite dim. Yu Darvish, Texas’ ace, goes to the hill for the Rangers, while Philip Humber takes the bump for the Astros. Darvish’s assortment of pitches has baffled opposing hitters this season. He almost no-hit the Astros in the first week of the season and should be able to hold down Houston in this contest as well.

Darvish doesn’t need to dominate, though; if he gives up just two or even three runs, he knows that Humber – his counterpart – is saddled with a very high earned-run average, the product of several subpar performances in 2013. As long as Darvish is solid, Texas should be able to score more than enough runs to win on Saturday.

MLB Betting Pick: Texas

Game 3 – Sunday, May 12

This is not high-stakes online poker, not in early May, but Houston – knowing that it is far below the .500 mark – might feel the need to go all-in to grab at least one victory in this series. Will a go-for-broke attitude save the Astros on Sunday? Not with this pitching matchup. Nick Tepesch is not a spectacular starter for Texas, but he’s perfectly competent, having held a series of mediocre opponents in check to this point in the season.

The problem with the pitching matchup for Houston is its own scheduled starter. Erik Bedard simply doesn’t pitch deep into games. His arm has been a constant source of frustration in his career – for him and the teams he’s pitched for. Texas will get a good look at Houston’s bullpen on Sunday and should be able to rough up the Astros as a result.

MLB Betting Pick: Texas

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