Astros visit Texas, look to build on Verlander’s strong outing
Houston Astros (13-6, first in the AL West) vs. Texas Rangers (10-8, third in the AL West)
Arlington, Texas; Saturday, 8 p.m. EDT
PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Gerrit Cole (1-2, 3.24 ERA, .92 WHIP, 36 strikeouts) Rangers: Adrian Sampson (1-1, 5.93 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 9 strikeouts)
LINE: Rangers favored by 1 1/2 runs; over/under is 9 1/2 runs
BOTTOM LINE: Either Houston or Texas will take home a series victory with a win.
The Rangers are 7-6 against AL West opponents. Texas is averaging 5.1 RBIs per game this season. Joey Gallo leads the team with 16 total runs batted in.
The Astros are 9-3 against the rest of their division. Houston leads the American League in hitting with a .271 batting average, Jose Altuve leads the team with an average of .316. The Astros won the last meeting 7-2. Justin Verlander recorded his third victory and Altuve went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBIs for Houston. Drew Smyly registered his second loss for Texas.
TOP PERFORMERS: Gallo leads the Rangers with seven home runs and is slugging .649. Elvis Andrus has 13 hits and is batting .317 over the last 10 games for Texas.
Altuve leads the Astros with eight home runs and is batting .316. Yuli Gurriel is 14-for-39 with six doubles, a triple, a home run and eight RBIs over the last 10 games for Houston.
LAST 10 GAMES: Rangers: 5-5, .242 batting average, 5.36 ERA, outscored by two runs
Astros: 9-1, .292 batting average, 3.34 ERA, outscored opponents by 26 runs
Rangers Injuries: Edinson Volquez: 60-day IL (elbow), Yohander Mendez: 60-day IL (elbow), Luke Farrell: 60-day IL (jaw), Scott Heineman: 60-day IL (shoulder), Rougned Odor: 10-day IL (knee), Ronald Guzman: 10-day IL (hamstring).
Astros Injuries: Joe Smith: 10-day IL (achilles), Lance McCullers Jr.: 10-day IL (elbow).