The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros square off on Thursday with first pitch set for 2:10 p.m. ET. The game takes place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas and will only be available on YouTube TV or through an MLB.tv subscription. Cole Ragans (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will start for the Rangers with Framber Valdez (10-4, 2.87 ERA) on the mound for the Astros.
Texas (49-61) will go for the series victory after picking up an 8-4 win in 10 innings on Wednesday night. Ragans will make his second career start after allowing one unearned run over five innings in Thursday’s game against the Chicago White Sox. The Rangers rank No. 25 in on-base percentage (.302), and Corey Seager has five hits in this series and drove in three runs with a homer.
Houston (71-41) is leading the American League West by 10.5 wins but lost three of its last four games. Valdez will make his 22nd start of the season and is coming off an outing where he gave up three runs over 6.1 innings in a victory over the Cleveland Guardians. The Astros strong suit is in slugging percentage (.421) where they rank No. 6, and Yordan Alvarez knocked out his 31st homer of the season on Wednesday night.
Rangers vs. Astros
Pitchers: Cole Ragans vs. Framber Valdez
First pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
Live stream: MLB.tv (subscription), YouTube TV
Odds, picks & predictions
Run Line: Astros -1.5 (-145)
Run total: 8
Moneyline odds: Astros -305, Rangers +255
Moneyline pick: Astros -305
You’d need to risk quite a bit of money to see much of a return on Houston in this spot, but the Astros will win this game. Valdez has been as consistent as you can be, and he has allowed more than three earned runs in just one of his 21 starts this season.
Player prop pick: Cole Ragans Over 3.5 strikeouts (-155)
Ragans threw just three strikeouts in his first start, but he was a very high-strikeout thrower in his minor league career. He had an 11.1 K/9 in 54 minor league games, and he should exceed four strikeouts in this spot even against an Astros lineup that strikes out the third-fewest times with 7.4 K’s per game.
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