By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
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* 2019 MLB Record: 131-110-5 (54.4%) *
[8:05 p.m. EST] Under 10.5 – Houston Astros at Texas Rangers
HOU: Frambler Valdez – L (4.57 ERA/1.37 WHIP)
TEX: Lance Lynn – R (11-4, 3.91 ERA/1.22 WHIP)
Lance Lynn was actually tied for the most wins (11) of any starting pitcher in baseball at the All-Star break with Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox. And that win total isn’t necessarily a product of run support either, as we’re looking at a guy that has allowed three runs or fewer in 14 of his last 17 starts.
It has been quite a resurgent 2019 campaign for Lynn, who has pitched at least six innings in each of his last 13 outings – 11 of those were quality starts (at least six innings pitched, three earned runs or fewer allowed).
Lynn is 4-2 in seven lifetime starts against the Astros, with a 2.25 ERA and 1.18 WHIP, while the total has gone under in five of those games.
Frambler Valdez takes the ball for the Astros. After starting the season in the bullpen, his last four outings have come as a starter. Those outings have seen mixed results, but the one constant in the quality starts was that Valdez racked up a total of 15 strikeouts, as opposed to only five in the other two.
Well, strikeouts shouldn’t be a problem for Valdez tonight, as the Rangers struck out at a massive 37.4% clip against left-handed pitching in the 21 days before the All-Star break. In fact, eight hitters in the projected Texas lineup tonight have a K-rate of at least 27% against lefties over that same time frame.
At his best, Valdez has gone six and seven innings in his most effective outings. We’re certainly banking on that tonight, given how poorly the Rangers are making contact against left-handed pitching.
Behind Valdez will be the Houston bullpen, which has the fifth-best ERA (3.88) in all of baseball this season. In general, the Astros have held the Rangers to four runs or fewer in six of the 10 meetings this season.
Seven of Lynn’s last nine starts have produced a single-digit run total, and it’s quite telling that Vegas has adjusted the initial 11.0 total down to 10.5. Perhaps, they got a look at the numbers after releasing the line and thought, “Oh my, this Lynn guy isn’t so bad.”
The SpreadKnowledge system likes the Rangers in this game with Lynn on the mound, so we’ll give them the win in the final prediction. However, the play that really stands out here is the total going under 10.5 runs.
* Final Score Prediction * Texas Rangers: 5 – Houston Astros: 4