After a win on Friday night, the Texas Rangers look to claim a series victory in the Battle of Texas in game two on Saturday. The game will take place at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, with first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET. Jon Gray (1-1, 3.00 ERA) takes the mound for Texas, while Houston counters with youngster Hunter Brown (1-0, 3.09 ERA).
Houston is currently a -180 favorite on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Rangers are +155 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.
Rangers-Astros picks: Saturday, April 15th
Out: SS Corey Seager (left hamstring strain), C Mitch Garver (mild left knee sprain), RP Josh Sborz (ankle sprain)
Day to day: OF Chas McCormick (vision issues)
Out: OF/DH Michael Brantley (shoulder surgery), 2B Jose Altuve (fractured right thumb)
Jon Gray vs. Hunter Brown
Finally free of the pitcher’s nightmare that is Coors Field, Gray is making good on his potential so far this year. The big righty held the Baltimore Orioles to just two runs in 6.1 innings with seven strikeouts in his season debut, then allowed two runs in 5.2 innings against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field last Sunday. The underlying numbers haven’t been quite as rosy, though, as he’s still not generating many swinging strikes and both his fastball and slider have been a bit too hittable.
One of Houston’s top prospects, Brown struggled in his first start of the year, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks in just 4.2 innings. He bounced back against the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, though, allowing just two hits over seven shutout frames. The righty doesn’t have an overwhelming fastball, but he’s started throwing both his slider and curveball much more, and if he keeps up that Lance McCullers Jr. impression he should find success.
These two teams hit this number right on the button on Friday night, and they should be near it again Saturday. But Gray feels like he’s due for a bit of a blow-up spot, which means the Rangers only need to scratch across a couple runs for the over to cash.
Pick: Over 8
These are two starters trending in opposite directions. Gray hasn’t been quite as good as his ERA would suggest and seems due for a rough outing if he can’t find a way to miss bats with his slider. Brown, meanwhile, seems to have landed on a pitch mix that suits him, and he could roll against a Texas lineup missing Corey Seager.