TEXAS RANGERS (65-66)
at HOUSTON ASTROS (79-52)
First pitch: Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. ET
Line: Texas +180, Houston -190, Total: 8.5
The Rangers and Astros will be squaring off at Tropicana Field on Wednesday, as Hurricane Harvey forced this series to move from Houston to St. Petersburg.
The Rangers will be hoping to get back to the .500 mark on Wednesday, and they should be feeling pretty good about the way they played against the Astros on Tuesday. Texas won that game 12-2 and snapped a three-game losing streak in the process. The Rangers will now hope to find another way to win, but itís safe to say that they are benefitting from the fact that they are not truly playing a road game in this one. One might also argue that the Astros have some more important things to deal with right now. Houston was hit way harder than Arlington by the storm last weekend, so itís very possible that the Astros players have more personal issues at stake right now. That would mean that they are not able to focus fully on the game, but theyíre going to need to do that here. They have bad blood with this Rangers team, so theyíll want to even up this series here and eventually win it on Thursday. The starters in this game are set to be RHP Andrew Cashner (7-9, 3.44 ERA, 63 K) for Texas and LHP Dallas Keuchel (11-2, 2.58 ERA, 90 K) for Houston. One trend that favors the Rangers in this one is the fact that they are 15-5 against the money line in road games after scoring nine or more runs over the past three seasons. The Astros are, however, 62-31 against the money line against righties this year.
The Rangers are sending Andrew Cashner to the hill on Wednesday and he has actually been a very successful reclamation project for them. While Cashner is just 7-9 on the season, his 3.44 ERA is the lowest heís had since 2014. He looks very comfortable with Texas and the team will be hoping that he shows up in a big way here. He recently met up with this Astros team and threw seven innings of two-run ball on Aug. 13. The Rangers lost that game 2-1, but they would be ecstatic if he were to turn in another effort like that one on Wednesday. As for the Texas offense, two guys to really keep an eye on are 3B Adrian Beltre and OF Joey Gallo. Beltre has really hit Keuchel hard in his career, as he is 17-for-57 with six doubles, two homers, and six RBI against the lefty. If he can continue to produce against him then it would be big for the Rangers. Gallo, meanwhile, has just been an absolute monster this season. He is on pace to hit 45 homers for Texas and that is with a recent trip the DL and a roster spot that was in flux early on. If he can go yard in this one then that would be huge for this offense.
The Astros are coming off of a poor showing at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, but they should be able to regroup with Keuchel on the mound in this one. Keuchel is back to looking like a Cy Young candidate for the Astros, as he has allowed only three earned runs over his past three starts. One of those games was against Texas, when he allowed just one earned run in 6.2 innings. He actually outdueled Cashner in that game and will now be hoping to do it once again in this one. On offense, the Astros have a few guys that will be excited to face Cashner on Wednesday. Two that are really worth mentioning are 2B Jose Altuve and OF Carlos Beltran. The two of them are a combined 14-for-28 with three doubles, two homers, and eight RBI against Cashner in their careers. They will both be counted on to produce in this one and itís hard to imagine them not finding a way to do just that.