Rangers vs. Astros MLB Best Bets for Thursday

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Kyle Tucker #30 of the Houston Astros catches a pop-fly in the bottom of the seventh inning. (Photo by Omar Rawlings / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

The Houston Astros lead the American League West and have the second-best record in the A.L., thanks in no small part to an 11-game winning streak earlier this month. Houston has won just two of five since that streak, however, and ended a road trip by losing two of three to Boston.

Now the Astros return home to face the Rangers, winners of four straight and looking to get back to .500 for the first time since they were 18-18 last May.  

Texas Rangers vs. Houston Astros    

Thursday, May 19, 2022 – 08:10 PM EDT at Minute Maid Park 

The Houston Astros lead the American League West by a game over the Los Angeles Angels and have the second-best record in the American League. That’s thanks in no small part to an 11-game winning streak earlier this month that vaulted the Astros from a .500 team to a division leader. 

Houston has won just two of five since that streak, however, and ended a road trip by losing two of three to Boston. Now the Astros return home, where they’ve won eight straight.  

The Astros will face the Texas Rangers, who enter on a four-game winning streak. Texas has improved to 17-19, good for third in the West. The Rangers will be looking to get back to .500 for the first time since they were 18-18 last May.    

Texas helped Houston hold onto the top spot in the West, by sweeping the second-place Angels to close out a homestand. Now the Rangers play four-weekend games in Houston.  

Possible Boost 

The Rangers hope to get back catcher Mitch Garver, who hasn’t played since May 8, for the start of the Astros series. He’s battling a right forearm strain and has been on a minor league rehab assignment for Frisco. That Double-A team is playing in Round Rock this week, which is a very short drive from Houston.

So Garver should be available immediately when the Rangers are ready to pull the trigger on his return. 

He’ll likely be limited to a designated hitter role, but getting him back in the lineup will help Texas. Jonah Heim will handle the catching duties. His OPS is currently 250 points higher than Garver’s, so the team isn’t suffering from the arrangement.  

The Rangers will start right-hander Glenn Otto to open the series.

  • He’s 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA in four starts this season.
  • He gave up eight runs in four innings to Boston last time out in his worst start of the season.
  • He’s faced the Astros once, getting a no-decision in a Texas loss after allowing two runs in 4.1 innings.  
  • Otto has struggled with control and the home run ball lately walking nine and allowing five homers in the last 13.1 innings pitched.  

Up and Down 

Houston has been inconsistent over the last five games, preventing the Astros from building some breathing room in what looks to be a competitive A.L. West race this season. Houston set a record with five home runs in an inning on Tuesday, scoring 13 runs for the first time since the second game of the year.

The Astros were then shut down on Wednesday, scoring just one run. It’s the fifth time this season Houston hasn’t reached at least two runs and the first since the end of April.  

Even in that game, the Astros were Jekyll and Hyde. Jose Altuve opened the game with an epic 10-pitch at-bat, ending in a leadoff home run. The Astros then had the next 18 batters retired.  

The starting rotation, third in MLB with a 3.20 ERA, has also struggled lately. Cristian Javier gave up seven runs in his last start, Luis Garcia five, and Jake Odorizzi left early with an injury. All that means that a tired bullpen will return to Minute Maid to face the Rangers.  

Houston will start Framber Valdez on Thursday.

  • The lefthander is 2-2 on the year with a 2.93 ERA.
  • He allowed one run in 7.2 innings to beat the Nationals last time out.
  • In his previous start against Texas, on April 25, he went six and didn’t allow an earned run, getting a no-decision in a game the Astros eventually lost.  

The Picks 

The Astros should rediscover their hitting spark back home at Minute Maid. Look for a solid outing from Valdez and some early scoring by Houston to give the home team the win in a high-scoring affair. Don't forget to place your bets at one of BMR's Best Sportsbooks and Betting Sites.

MLB Pick: Astros (-200) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Astros (-200)
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MLB Pick: Over 8 Runs (-115) at BetOnline 

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Over 8 Runs (-115)
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