Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers Pick & Prediction APRIL 14th 2024

A day after Houston’s newfound workhorse turned in another stellar outing, the Astros hand the ball to a guy who has come through for them for years.

And they’re hoping he can lead them to a series win.

Right-hander Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.10 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound Sunday when the Astros host the Texas Rangers in the finale of the three-game set between in-state rivals.

The reason Houston can take the series is because of the work Ronel Blanco put in on Saturday. The right-hander turned his third quality start in as many outings this season — including a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays in his season debut on April 1.

Against the Rangers on Saturday, Blanco worked six strong innings, giving up two runs on five hits with five strikeouts. He didn’t factor into the decision but helped the Astros collect a 9-2 win.

It was especially critical as the Astros had lost their previous four games and, at 5-11, are looking for any spark to get them going.

“We’ve been struggling and all that, but we’ve just been doing some adjustments and the results, you can see it,” relief pitcher Bryan Abreu said.

In Javier’s previous outing, he allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings on Tuesday but did not factor into the decision of a 4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

Javier is 6-2 with a 4.15 ERA in 16 career appearances (12 starts) against the Rangers (including playoffs).

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.45) will oppose Javier for the Rangers. It will mark Eovaldi’s 250th career start, the 17th active pitcher to hit that benchmark. He did not factor into the decision of his last start after allowing one run on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings in the Rangers’ 4-3 loss to Oakland on Tuesday. Eovaldi is 6-0 with a 2.44 ERA over his last nine starts, including the postseason.

Eovaldi is 3-4 with a 4.42 ERA in 10 career starts against the Astros, including a 2-1 record with a 2.95 ERA in three starts at Minute Maid Park.

The Rangers placed left-hander Brock Burke on the injured list on Saturday after the left-handed reliever broke his right hand punching a wall out of frustration following a poor outing in the series opener.

“We want our athletes to be competitive and hate to lose,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “But with that passion, there’s a fine edge, and when you cross that line there are going to be consequences. You love the fact that he’s upset with not helping the club last night. I hope it’s not long, but it just wasn’t a smart move.”

Right-hander Austin Pruitt was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to replace Burke on the roster. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks over 1 2/3 innings of relief on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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