The Houston Astros are quickly in a desperate spot in the ALCS, their pursuit of back-to-back World Series titles in jeopardy.
The team will turn to Cristian Javier as the series shifts to Texas with the Astros trailing two games to none against its AL West foe Texas Rangers. The Rangers will hope the return of Max Scherzer will boost the team's pitching staff and put the defending champs in an insurmountable 3-0 deficit.
Javier struggled in his lone start against Texas this season, but has a ton of postseason success dating back to 2020, can he save the Astros season?
Here's how I'm betting this one, but first let me tell you how you can get $200 in bonus bets instantly. All you need to do is sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook with the link below, deposit, and bet $5 and you'll get $200 in bonus bets!
Astros vs. Rangers odds, run line and total
Astros vs. Rangers prediction and pick
Javier admittedly struggled against Texas in his lone start against them this season. Javier was shelled on July 3rd by Texas, allowing eight earned runs in four-and-a-third innings with only four strikeouts. However, he'll look to continue his fine postseason play, which includes a dazzling 1.91 ERA in 15 appearances.
The Astros right-hander showcased some of his best stuff of the season in the ALDS against the Twins, throwing five innings of one-hit baseball while striking out nine batters. While Javier was far from great for most of the season, his numbers have been trending up over the past month, nearly doubling his strikeout-to-walk rate.
Javier has been a trusted postseason arm and I believe that he can put together a strong outing once again before Houston's elite bullpen takes over (sixth in regular-season ERA and fifth in the postseason).
Meanwhile, the Rangers will counter with Max Scherzer, who is making his first start in about a month after suffering a shoulder strain amidst diminishing velocity and overall output. Scherzer has battled injuries all season and is in the later stages of his career, but is looking to make one more World Series push, I believe that he will be limited in this one, putting a ton of pressure on the Rangers bullpen.
The Astros don't chase pitches, bottom three in strikeout rate this season, and will make Scherzer work for outs. Houston hitters own an above average OPS mark of .830 against Scherzer in their careers and the veteran may be on a strict pitch count.
Texas' bullpen has been nails in the postseason, third in overall ERA, much improved from the team's suspect regular season when it had the seventh-worst ERA as a unit. In this series, the bullpen has put together more than six innings of one-run baseball, but I believe in extended work in Game 3, the Astros can find answers.
I'll take Houston as small road underdogs to get back on track in this series and chase Scherzer early from this matchup.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Track Reed's bets here!