The Texas Rangers visit Minute Maid Park to play their in-state counterparts: the Houston Astros. The game starts at 6:10 pm central. The Rangers are 16-24 on the year. Texas will look to improve on this record. The Astros are 24-16 so far this season. Doug Fister gets the nod for the Rangers. Fister is 1-3 in the year. He also has a 4.02 ERA, both starts that will have to improve for him to get the W on Saturday. Meanwhile, Charlie Morton will take the mound for Houston. Morton is a perfect 4-0 on the year. His ERA is also impressive, at 2.16. The Astros are favored on Saturday at -270.
Doug Fister has not had the type if year any pitcher would be hoping for. He only has 1 victory on the year, and his ERA isn’t much better: at just over 4. Fister is a ground ball pitcher without overwhelming velocity. This fact means that he will have to locate his pitches very well against the tough Houston lineup. He will need to live in the bottom of the zone as, without a lot of velocity, throwing up in the zone will be an invitation for homeruns when facing the power-packed Astros hitters.
The Rangers have been having a decent year at the plate. Most impressive have been Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre. Andrus is batting .327 on the year. Perhaps most impressive for him is the fact that he has only struck out twice in his 52 at-bats. Beltre is hitting .323 so far this year, and has driven in 12 runs. He has also been able to draw 11 walks. Although these two have been having good seasons, more than just them will have to be hitting for the Rangers to have a chance.
Meanwhile, Houston has had a much more balanced offensive attack. They have 8 non-pitchers batting .250 and above. The offense is led by J ose Altuve, who is hitting .323. Altuve has driven in 17 runs this year, along with drawing 14 walks. These are good stats, although the power hasn’t been there on the scale it normally is (he only has 2 homeruns). Also having a good year is George Springer. Springer has been in on producing many of the Astros’ runs. He has driven in 26 of them, while crossing the plate 33 times himself. Springer also has 8 homeruns combined with a .506 slugging percentage. Look for Springer to have another good game against Doug Fister, especially if he doesn’t keep the ball down in the zone.
Astros top Rangers
Doug Fister has been struggling this year, and it’s hard to imagine that getting better against the tough Astros. His sub par record and high ERA indicate a lack of control, something paramount for a ground ball pitcher like Fister. These facts combined with the good hitting from Houston spell trouble for the Rangers. Take Houston at -270
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