The Houston Astros will send their ace to the mound tonight to stop a two-game skid when they visit the Texas Rangers at 8:05PM ET.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetDSI, the Rangers are +140 money line home underdogs versus the Astros, who have odds of -155 to pick up their first win in their last three attempts. With Dallas Keuchel set to face A.J. Griffin in the pitching matchup, the total currently sits at 9 runs.
Keuchel will be making his fourth start of the season. He's currently 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA and a FIP of 3.00, which is solid. His xFIP is a tad higher than his ERA and FIP, but nothing alarming at 3.80. That said, his walk rate (4.79) is high and his strikeout rate is merely average (7.40), plus he's received plenty of batted-ball luck at .250. The good news is that nobody is elevating his pitches and he's kept the ball in the yard, surrendering no home runs through 20.2 innings of work.
Griffin will be making his third straight of the season. He's 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA but his FIP is a shaky 4.77 and his xFIP doesn't paint a very positive picture at 6.32. His strikeout (4.91) and walk (4.91) rates are alarming and his BABIP is due for a major spike at .229. Even though he's coming off a strong outing in Seattle in which he struck out five over five innings, he also walked four batters to give him six on the year. He could be in store for a rude awakening.
OUR PICK: The Astros are 13-3 in Keuchel's last 16 starts coming off five days of rest and they're 19-7 in his last 26 starts versus the American League West. Houston is 35-16 in Keuchel's last 51 starts overall and 5-1 in his last six outings following a quality start in his last appearance as well. On the other side, the Rangers are 1-4 in their last five games after allowing only two runs or less in their previous contest and with Griffin due to get smacked around, Houston is a solid play despite having to lay a somewhat high number (-155).
THURSDAY MLB FREE PICK: HOUSTON ASTROS -155