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Matt Zylbert picks and predictions for Saturday's Rangers vs. Astros game

MLB Picks & Predictions - May 15, 2021

Texas Rangers at Houston Astros

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Dane Dunning (2-2, 3.78 ERA) vs. Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.60 ERA)

Rangers vs. Astros Predictions

Professional athletes must be riding high when thriving right away in their first year with a new club, especially when said player was the main haul for a leading vet.

This is the current experience for Dunning, who was the most coveted talent in the package received from the Chicago White Sox for Lance Lynn this past offseason. Still just 26-years-old, Dunning debuted a season ago and enjoyed modest success, registering a 3.97 ERA and 1.12 WHIP while limiting opponents to a .197 average.

He was even given the ball in Chicago’s decisive Game 5 of their American League Wild Card Series (which they lost, but due to no fault of Dunning’s), and that’s the trust that can be placed upon the righty.

Dunning is building off his solid rookie campaign with even better work as a Ranger. His strikeout rate (10.53 K/9) is considerably higher than it was last year (9.26 K/9) — in the same sample size, too.

The former Florida Gator does a noticeable job keeping the ball in the yard, as he was tagged for only four homers in his eight starts (including postseason) in 2020. So far, he’s allowed just one tater en route to maintaining pretty steady form.

If Dunning can continue to minimize hitters and keep those dangerous Astros bats in check — and I think he can take on any lineup right now — Garcia continuing his perfectly fine output will decide this total.

Like Dunning, the Venezuelan native debuted in the big leagues during the pandemic-shortened season, and also like his counterpart tonight, Garcia was good.

That came mostly as a reliever, though, and within a far shorter workload. This year, Garcia’s been getting the chance to shine as a starter and is fully capitalizing.

Garcia enters this assignment winless but holds an impressive 1.07 WHIP and .193 batting average against. He’s also punching out 10.50 K/9, a desirable tendency to have when facing a lineup that strikes out a bunch. The Rangers certainly do that an unhealthy amount.

Making this bet more tempting is that Texas’ most dangerous slugger, Joey Gallo (hamstring), might be out. While the total has dropped to 8 in some shops, I still recommend a wager on that number.

MLB Picks

Pick: UNDER 8.5 @ -101

Saturday's MLB Leans - May 15

Reds-Rockies Under 11

Indians-Mariners Under 8.5

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “19-21-2,” -4.98 units

Yesterday’s Result: Royals-White Sox Under 6.5 — Game 2 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


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