The Texas Rangers are headed to Houston to take on the Astros in what should be another exciting entry in the battle of Texas. First pitch is set for 8:10 p.m. ET. Martin Perez (1-1, 2.53 ERA) looks to continue his strong start for Texas while Luis Garcia (0-1, 7.00 ERA) hopes to find last season’s form for the Astros.
The Astros are -155 favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Rangers are +135 underdogs. The total is set at 8.5.
Rangers-Astros picks: Friday, April 14th
Out: SS Corey Seager (left hamstring strain), C Mitch Garver (mild left knee sprain), RP Josh Sborz (ankle sprain)
Out: OF/DH Michael Brantley (shoulder surgery), 2B Jose Altuve (fractured right thumb)
Martin Perez vs. Luis Garcia
A breakout star last year, Perez has turned in two quality starts this season, as he opened the year by allowing one run in 5.2 innings agains the Phillies before allowing two runs in five innings in a loss to the Cubs his last time out. Perez has been throwing his sinker more than ever this year (41.5 percent usage), but hasn’t had the same success with the pitch (.313 average against).
Garcia’s been one of the clearest victims of the new rule changes, as his previous “rock the baby” pitching motion is now a balk, which means he’s had to adjust to a new streamlined windup. The early results haven’t been great, as he’s struggled so far this year and allowed four runs to the Twins in four innings his last time out. While he’s always given up a decent amount of hard contact, Garcia’s been unable to miss bats like he has in previous years (17.8 strikeout rate this year compared to 24.4 in 2022), which has led to teams being able to keep the line moving against him.
Neither starter has looked great so far this year, so I’m leaning towards the over. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a vintage performance from Perez today, but the uncertainty surrounding Garcia and the Astros bullpen (4.34 ERA as a unit) makes me think we’ll see a decent amount of runs today.
Pick: Over 8.5
While the loss of Seager hurts, the Rangers have put together a solid start to the season, and still boast a balanced lineup. Garcia has yet to prove that he can get batters out with his new windup, and I’m expecting the Rangers to be aggressive against him tonight. Give me the Texas.