Astros vs Rangers – MLB Pick for June 7th
Here we have another Lone Star showdown between the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. This is a series that has been dominated by the Rangers over the years, but now it’s the Astros that reign supreme. The defending World Series champs have gone 6-4 through their first 10 meetings this season with their intrastate rivals.
Gerrit Cole will take the mound for the Astros in this one. This will be Cole’s third start of the year against Texas. He’s 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in the other 2 meetings. He’s also struck out a whopping 25 hitters in 14 innings of work. The right-hander has struck out at least 7 hitters in all but one of his 12 starts, which is quite the impressive feat. His 38.2 percent strikeout rate on the season is second in the league among starters, trailing only Max Scherzer.
Cole has upped his fly ball rate dramatically this season. It’s at 46.3 percent so far in 2018, up from 31.5 percent in his career to this point. There’s no telling if that will sustain, but I would imagine he’ll start generating more ground balls as the year progresses.
Today he gets a matchup with a Rangers lineup that has plenty of talent, but it also has plenty of strikeouts. Cole has already allowed 9 home runs on the year, so that has been one of his few weaknesses. 5 of those have come off the bats of lefties, and most of the most imposing Texas hitters swing it from that side of the plate. Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo, Rougned Odor, Nomar Mazara and Ronald Guzman all have plenty of pop from the left side.
Cole will be opposed by another Cole, Cole Hamels. Hamels has pitched pretty well this season after a disastrous 2017. His strikeout rate curiously dipped to just 17 percent last year, but he’s ramped it back up over 23 percent so far this year. While that’s good, there are some red flags heading into tonight’s matchup against the Astros.
Hamels has allowed a hard-hit rate over 44 percent, which is dicey. Like Cole, Hamels has also allowed a higher fly ball rate this season than we’re used to seeing. Opposing hitters have already clobbered 15 homers against him, which is one of the highest marks in the league thus far.
The lefty has also historically had quite the wide platoon split, and there is a good chance he’ll be opposed by 9 right-handed hitters in the Astros lineup. We know Houston’s bats are as potent as any team in the league, so it would frankly be a surprise if Hamels didn’t give up a dong or 2 against them tonight.
It’s also another warm night in Arlington, which means the ball should be flying. We have a couple of talented starters on the mound, but this is a good night for hitting. We saw 5 home runs hit in this ballpark last night, and another power show tonight wouldn’t surprise me. I think the total of 9 runs is too low, so I like the over on this one.
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