Friday MLB preview: Astros at Rangers, White Sox at A's

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

July 12th, 2019

Houston Astros (57-34) at Texas Rangers (49-42), 8:05 p.m. ET

Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.09 ERA) (HOU) -215 / -1.5 runs (-140) / Over 10 runs (-105) Jesse Chavez (3-4, 3.30 ERA) (TEX) +190 / +1.5 runs (+120) / Under 10 runs (-115)

MLB free play: Astros runline

Gerrit Cole should continue the fine run he's been on as his Astros face Jesse Chavez and the Rangers on Friday night.

Cole's ERA over his last seven starts (45 innings) is 1.60. He had a rough April, including two poor starts against Texas, but he struck out 12 Rangers and allowed just one earned run in six innings in his most recent effort against them May 11. Cole is accompanied by Houston's third-ranked bullpen in opponent batting average (.225).

Chavez's ERA in his own ballpark this season is 4.26 and opponents are batting .271 against him at Globe Life Park in 2019. He has struggled against Astros sluggers Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick, who are a combined 12-for-26 (.462) all-time off him. Assuming Chavez is chased early, Houston will get some extra cracks at the Rangers' 25th-ranked bullpen by opponent batting average (.266).

Chicago White Sox (42-44) at Oakland Athletics (50-41), 10:07 p.m. ET

Ivan Nova (4-7, 5.58 ERA) (CHW) +160 / +1.5 runs (-120) / Over 9.5 runs (EVEN) Mike Fiers (8-3, 3.87 ERA) (OAK) -180 / -1.5 runs (EVEN) / Under 9.5 runs (-120)

MLB free play: Athletics runline

Mike Fiers has been one of the American League's best pitchers since the start of May, and he should have no problem handling a mediocre White Sox offense, while his lineup does damage against Ivan Nova.

Fiers hasn't lost a start since May 7 (6-0) and has a 2.31 ERA in his last 11 efforts (70 innings). Chicago third baseman Yoan Moncada and first baseman Jose Abreu have just four hits off Fiers in 22 combined attempts.

Nova negotiated 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Cubs when last seen but produced a 4.89 ERA in six June starts. The Dominican native is 70th in home runs allowed this season at 19, which spells trouble against an Oakland squad that is sixth in home runs this year at 145.

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