Houston hosts Texas after Verlander’s strong outing
Texas Rangers (17-19, fourth in the AL West) vs. Houston Astros (24-15, first in the AL West)
Houston; Saturday, 8 p.m. EDT
PITCHING PROBABLES: Rangers: Jesse Chavez (0-1, 7.27 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 13 strikeouts) Astros: Gerrit Cole (0-4, 4.17 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, 74 strikeouts)
BOTTOM LINE: Either Texas or Houston will take home a series victory with a win.
The Astros are 13-5 against the rest of their division. Houston has hit 69 home runs this season, second in the league. George Springer leads them with 13, averaging one every 11.5 at-bats.
The Rangers are 11-13 against the rest of their division. The Texas pitching staff as a whole has an ERA of 5.14. Mike Minor leads the team with a 2.68 earned run average. The Astros won the last meeting 3-0. Justin Verlander earned his sixth victory and Jake Marisnick went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and an RBI for Houston. Lance Lynn took his third loss for Texas.
TOP PERFORMERS: Michael Brantley leads the Astros with 49 hits and is batting .338. Springer is 14-for-38 with two doubles, five home runs and 11 RBIs over the last 10 games for Houston.
Joey Gallo leads the Rangers with 18 extra base hits and has 28 RBIs. Hunter Pence is 9-for-22 with three doubles, four home runs and 14 RBIs over the last 10 games for Texas.
LAST 10 GAMES: Astros: 7-3, .297 batting average, 3.89 ERA, outscored opponents by 25 runs
Rangers: 4-6, .212 batting average, 3.72 ERA, outscored opponents by 16 runs
Astros Injuries: Joe Smith: 10-day IL (achilles), Lance McCullers Jr.: 10-day IL (elbow), Jose Altuve: day-to-day (hamstring).
Rangers Injuries: Edinson Volquez: 60-day IL (elbow), Yohander Mendez: 60-day IL (elbow), Shawn Kelley: 10-day IL (infection), Taylor Hearn: 10-day IL (elbow), Luke Farrell: 60-day IL (jaw), Scott Heineman: 60-day IL (shoulder).