The Texas Rangers look to maintain their mastery of in-state rival Houston when the American League West foes continue a four-game series in Arlington on Tuesday. Rougned Odor’s two-out RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the Rangers to a dramatic 6-5 win in Monday’s series opener, giving Texas a 7-0 record against the Astros in 2016.
The first-place Rangers, who are 22-9 at home, have also won four straight overall, eight of their last nine and 13 of 16. Texas starter Cole Hamels will try to improve to 3-0 against Houston this season when he gets the nod opposite fellow lefty Dallas Keuchel. Hamels has allowed two earned runs in 14 2/3 innings versus the Astros and struck out a season-high 11 in their previous encounter last month. Keuchel gave up seven runs in that meeting but has recovered with consecutive quality starts for the first time in 2016.
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ROOT (Houston), FSN Southwest (Texas)
Astros – No relevant injuries to report.
Rangers – RF S. Choo (15-Day DL, hamstring), CF D. Stubbs (15-Day DL, Toe), LF J. Hamilton (Out For Season, knee), C R. Chirinos (Out Tuesday, forearm).
WEATHER REPORT: It is expected to be a perfect evening for baseball tonight in Arlington where the Rangers will host their in-state rivals from Houston. Clear skies, warm temperatures (80’s), and a nice summer breeze (5 mph) blowing in from left field. I wish I could hop on a plane, grab a ticket, and plop myself in the outfield bleachers with a cold beverage for this one. Instead I’ll just plop myself on my couch with a cold beverage to watch – not the same at all.
HOT FAN BATTLE:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (3-7, 5.50 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Cole Hamels (5-1, 3.39)
Keuchel followed up his rough outing versus Texas with seven solid innings in a win over the Los Angeles Angels and then six more in a hard-luck loss to Arizona on Thursday. The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner gave up three runs, struck out six and kept the ball in the yard for just the second time in his last six outings. The 28-year-old also surrendered a season-high 13 hits at Texas on April 22 and owns a 6.75 ERA in seven career starts at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Hamels had a no-decision after allowing three runs and six hits in seven frames at Cleveland on Wednesday. He gave up one home run and has surrendered nine in his last five starts, lifting his career high home run rate to 1.7 per nine innings. Astros catcher/designated hitter Evan Gattis is 7-for-20 with three home runs against Hamels.
* Astros are 7-0 in their last 7 after allowing 5 runs or more in their previous game.
* Astros are 1-5 in Keuchels last 6 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Rangers are 6-1 in their last 7 home games vs. a left-handed starter.
* Rangers are 11-2 in Hamels’ last 13 starts vs. a team with a losing record.
* Over is 8-1 in Astros last 9 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Over is 8-2 in Hamels’ last 10 starts vs. a team with a losing record.
* Over is 7-0 in Keuchels last 7 road starts vs. Rangers.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is heavily on Cole Hamels and the Rangers with 78 percent of the Covers wagers on the home team. Under 9 is picking up 62 percent of the total plays. View full consensus data here.