Free MLB picks: Astros@ Rays; 01:10 PM

The quality and victories are flowing sweetly for Tampa Bay Rays. Chris Archer will try to keep that trend going on for Tampa Bay as it looks for closing the season's first half with another win. The Rays (54-41) won the 13th time in total 15 games on Saturday, 4-3, as Roberto Hernandez offered the club its 14th straight quality start. Tampa Bay starters have posted a 4.02 ERA in this season, but they've collected a 2.09 mark in the last 14 contests. Archer who is 3-3 with a 3.59 ERA is responsible for two of those 14 quality starts, allowing a combined three runs and five hits in a dozen innings. He snatched a victory in Tuesday's 4-1 win against Minnesota and offered no walks for the first time in 14 major league games. The right-hander has averaged a mark of 5.2 walks per nine innings in seven earlier starts this season. He allowed two runs in six innings, walked three but didn't get a decision in a 7-5 win in Houston on July 4.

Baseball picks expert reports that Houston (33-60) will clash with Erik Bedard  who is 3-5 with an ERA of 4.67, whose 23 starts and 11 wins against the Rays are his best against any team. He lost the last three; however, on July 2 he gave up four runs and walked a career-worst six in 5 1-3 innings. He had gone 3-1 with a 3.23 ERA in nine starts before that game. Bedard has issued five walks and also allowed five runs over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-4 loss at Texas last Sunday. However, pitching around Luke Scott may not be a forbidden idea after the designated hitter was 2 for 4 with a home run Saturday. He improved to 14 for 32 (.438) over a nine-game streak with eight RBIs. He is now 2 for 4 versus Bedard. Wil Myers is 7 for 15 over his last four games, but Evan Longoria has a 0-for 4 record. Longoria is 4 for 40 in his last 11 contests, losing his average 24 points to .277. Jose Altuve was 1 for 4 and scored a run. Altuve, the second baseman, has hit .284 with 61 steals in 291 games since debuting for Houston on July 20, 2011.

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