We have an American League matchup on our hands Thursday night between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers which will kick off a four-game slate to wind down the MLB regular season.
Houston is coming into this series with a chance to clinch a playoff berth. The Astros control their own destiny to take their seat at the postseason table and things are looking good. The Rangers are ready to play the spoiler role against a controversial Astros team, however.
The Astros are coming into the regular season finale as -126 favorites with Texas a respectable +106 underdog. The total is way down there at 7.5.
Astros Playoff Bound?
Houston has been the league enemy all season, and on Thursday night they have the opportunity to make their final push for the playoffs. Houston is second in the AL West, but they’ve looked average the entire season.
Houston is coming in just above .500 on the year. George Springer leads the team with 13 home runs while Cristian Javier (R) is the probable starter on the hill Thursday night. Javier has been very consistent in his 48 innings of work this season.
Rangers Spoiler Alert?
The Rangers are coming into this series already having clinched the hypothetical last place in the AL West trophy for 2020. Texas is playing for pride, but they do have the ability to spoil their in-state rivals season beginning Thursday night.
Every team in the MLB would like to see the Astros kept out of the postseason so don’t expect Texas to have already thrown in the towel.
The Rangers have been plagued with injuries as of late. Shin-Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus will most likely miss this series. The two Texas players have had below average seasons, but their veteran presence will be missed on the field in Arlington to end the season.
The one bright spot for the Rangers to open this series is right hander Lance Lynn, who will take the hill for Texas on Thursday night. Lynn tries to give his team a chance to spoil Houston’s postseason dreams.
If you want to make a pick off analytics, Houston is your team. They’re not great, but they are a better team than the Rangers in most facets of the game. I like Lynn on the bump for Texas on Thursday night though. I think he will shine in his final start of the season and give his team a chance to win.
The Astros have a decent bullpen, but Javier, who will start Thursday, is very susceptible to giving up the long ball. Texas CF Joey Gallo needs to hit the ball and take advantage of location issues to solidify a Rangers W and I think he does just that.
I don’t know if the Rangers have the fire power to keep Houston from playing October baseball, but I think they have enough left in the tank to grab a big home win over the enemies of the MLB.
I’m taking the Rangers at +106 and over 7.5.