Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers Preview and Predictions 07-14-2019 in MLB
The 2019 season has not been kind to three-time batting champion Jose Altuve, but he has dropped hints over the last two-plus weeks that he might be poised to go on a tear in the near future. Coming off his second four-hit effort of the month, the 2017 American League MVP hopes to lead the Houston Astros to a series split when they visit the Texas Rangers on Sunday for the finale of their four-game set.
Altuve, who spent over a month from mid-May to mid-June on the injured list with a strained left hamstring, entered Saturday's contest batting .256 - 58 points below his career average - but registered a three-hit effort on June 30 and a four-hit performance two days later. The six-time All-Star had managed only four hits in 26 at-bats since that spurt but finished 4-for-6 with a go-ahead RBI double in the 11th inning of Saturday's 7-6 victory. After rallying from a four-run deficit in the seventh inning on Friday to record a 9-8 victory, Texas had another comeback attempt in the 11th on Saturday snuffed out when Tim Federowicz flied out with the tying run in scoring position. Delino DeShields homered and drove in two runs for the Rangers, who had won their previous four home games against the Astros.
TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet-Southwest (Houston), FS Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Justin Verlander (10-4, 2.98 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Ariel Jurado (5-4, 4.23)
Verlander's bizarre season continued in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on July 5 as he surrendered four runs - including three homers - while registering six strikeouts over seven innings. The eight-time All-Star leads the majors in WHIP (0.81) and ranks fifth in strikeouts (153), but he also has allowed the most home runs of any pitcher in baseball (26). Verlander hasn't had much trouble in three starts against Texas this season, however, going 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA while permitting two homers in 18 frames.
Jurado finished the first half on a positive note with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief at Minnesota last Sunday, but he hasn't been particularly sharp of late - outside of a seven-inning masterpiece in Detroit to end June. The 23-year-old struggled at home against the Angels on July 3, yielding six runs over as many frames to lift his ERA to 6.95 over his last four turns. Jurado beat the Astros in his only career start against them last July, holding the club to one run on two hits and a walk in six frames.
1. The Rangers have belted eight homers over the last two contests after totaling 10 in their previous 10 games.
2. Houston is 8-1 in extra innings this season after going 5-6 in such contests last year.
3. Texas has scored at least once in the opening frame of each game of this series and leads the majors with 75 first-inning runs.
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Key Players to Watch
- BATTING 0.324 Michael Brantley #23 | LF
- HOMERUNS 24 Alex Bregman #2 | 3B
- RUNS BATTED IN 60 Alex Bregman #2 | 3B
- STOLEN BASES 8 Jake Marisnick #6 | CF
- EARNED RUN AVERAGE 21.600 Tyler White #13 | 1B
- WINS 11 Justin Verlander #35 | SP
- STRIKEOUTS 85 Robinson Chirinos #28 | C
- SAVES 20 Roberto Osuna #54 | RP
no tickets found.
- GroinProb Tues | probable
Pence has been activated from the 10-day injured list after healing from a strained right groin. He is expected to be available for Tuesday's game against the Diamondbacks.
- ElbowLate July | 60-day IL
Mendez has been transferred to the 60-day injured list with a right UCL strain. He is not expected to return until at least the latter half of July.
- ElbowLate July | 10-day IL
Dowdy is on the 10-day injured list with a right elbow impingement, and he is expected to be out of action until the latter part of July.
- JawLate July | 60-day IL
Farrell is on the 60-day injured list as he is recovering from surgery to repair a non-displaced fracture in his jaw. He is expected to be shut down until at least the latter portion of July.
- FingerLate July | 10-day IL
Kiner-Falefa has been placed on the 10-day injured list due to a right middle finger ligament sprain. He is lining up to be reinstated from the IL during the end of July.
- ElbowLate July | 10-day IL
Sadzeck is on the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his right elbow. He is expected to be out of commission until at least the latter half of July.
- AnkleProb Thurs | probable
Choo departed the previous game due to left ankle soreness, but he is likely to play Thursday against the Astros.
- ShoulderEarly Aug | 10-day IL
Peacock has been placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder discomfort. He sustained a setback in his recovery and is expected to be out until at least the start of August.
- RibsLate July | 60-day IL
Correa fractured a rib and is on the 60-day injured list. He is aiming to return to action against the Cardinals on July 26.
- HamstringLate July | 10-day IL
Diaz is on the 10-day IL with a hamstring strain and is expected to be idle until at least the end of July.
- AchillesProb Sun | probable
Smith has been activated from the 60-day injured list after recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. It is likely that he will be available for Sunday's game versus the Rangers.
- Suspensionday-to-day | out
Marisnick will serve a two-game suspension for his role in a collision with an opposing player. He is eligible to return to the lineup for Saturday's contest versus the Rangers.
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