Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers Free Pick 09/14/15

Published September 14, 2015.
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Houston Astros (77-66) vs. Texas Rangers (75-67)
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
Monday, September 14 – 8:05 PM EST

Line: HOU +105 / TEX -125
Over/Under: 8 Runs

Our featured free pick Monday, September 14 comes from Arlington where the Texas Rangers will host the Houston Astros for a key clash in the AL West. The visitors have won just four of their last 11 games while Texas has split its last six to climb 1 1/2 games back of the Astros for the division top spot. The Los Angeles Angels are also in the mix just three games behind the Rangers so every W is of utmost importance for both teams involved in this contest.

Houston Astros (77-66)
Scott Kazmir (7-10, 2.63 ERA) will take the ball for the Astros making his 10th start with the club since coming over from the A’s. He started his career with Houston with back-to-back shut out performances but is 0-2 with 10 runs allowed through 17 1/3 frames over his last three.

He’s 2-1 with a 1.35 ERA in four starts against Texas on the season with seven runs, four earned, allowed through 11 2/3 innings at Arlington. He has the current Texas team limited to a .219 team batting average over 251 at bats but has struggled with Josh Hamilton who is 7-for-19 with a double and two homers.

Houston has a .240 team batting average away from home on the season but with 87 home runs scored through 71 road games.

Texas Rangers (75-67)
Cole Hamels (9-8, 3.76 ERA) will take the ball for the Rangers for the eighth time since coming over from the Phillies. He’s 3-1 with a 4.07 ERA in the previous seven starts for the club and 4-3 with a 4.90 ERA in 10 career starts against the Astros who he’ll face for the first time this season. Six batters on the current Astros roster have combined for a .256 batting average against Hamels with Jose Altuve going 2-for-4 and Evan Gattis 3-for-9 with two home runs.

Hamels is 3-0 in his last five starts, all Texas wins, and has conceded seven runs on 16 hits through 14 innings in his last two outings.

Texas has a .272 team batting average at home this season which is among the best marks in baseball and Shin-Soo Choo who went 3-for-4 with a homer on Sunday is batting .395 in 43 September at bats so far.

What’s the Play
I think we’ll see an intense game in this Lone Star State rivalry, and even though we’ll see two pitchers I generally expect to put up stellar performances, I must say I expect to see plenty of action over the plate here. Both teams are sending southpaws to the mound and they’re both in the top 7 in the Major Leagues for runs scored against left-handed starters on the season.

Play: Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers to go over the total.