Texas Arlington, 7:05 pm (CT)
RHP Lucas Harrell (6-13/ 5.16 ERA / 1.63 WHIP) vs. RHP Matt Garza (2-1 / 3.86 ERA / 1.14 WHIP)
After a week of winning baseball for the Astros in AL west country, the boys head back to Texas. The Rangers' bats will once again roll out the red carpet for Houston's arrival. The Rangers come in limping some what, after sweeping the Astros in a four game series. They split a two game series with Brewers and lost two of three against Seattle. The Rangers currently hold only a half-game lead over the Athletics.
The Rangers send out their prize of the trade deadline Matt Garza. Garza has given up four earned runs in each of his last three starts. Most recently in 5.2 innings against Milwaukee, he gave up eight hits, walked two, and two home runs to the Brewers' Juan Francisco. In his previous start before the Brewers, Garza faced the Astros in Houston, giving up four runs over seven innings - walking one and striking out eight. Jason Castro and Brandon Barnes touched up Garza for a solo home run each. L.J. Hoes, Jose Altuve, and Jason Castro's back-to-back-to-back doubles accounted for the other two runs. Garza picked up the win after the Astros bullpen gave up six runs over the eighth and ninth innings.
The top of the Astros' lineup has a solid track record against Garza. Jose Altuve is 3-for-11 with a double and a run batted in. Chris Carter is 2-for-6 with a double and a solo home run. Jason Castro is 3-for-9 with two home runs and five runs batted in. On the other hand, Brett Wallace and Robbie Grossman are both hitless in their one meeting thus far.
Returning to the rotation, in place of Jordan Lyles, is Lucas Harrell. Harrell was sent to the bullpen two times this season for pour performance and attitude toward the Astros' defensive concept. As a starter this season, Harrell is 5-10 with 5.12 ERA in 20 starts. In four starts against Texas in his career, he is 1-4 with a 5.87 ERA. The right-hander is coming off a good week of relief, pitching 4.1 innings of scoreless baseball and picked up a win along the way.
We've seen the best and worse of Lucas Harrell in his two starts this season against Texas, six innings with one run allowed and 3.2 innings with 7 earned runs allowed. In that dreadful start on July 5, the Rangers scored nine runs total on six walks and five hits.
The current Rangers roster is batting .295 with .580 slugging percentage against Harrell over their careers. Leading the way is (as always) Andrain Beltre, he is 6-for-13 with three extra-base hits and six runs batted in. David Murphy is 3-11 with two home runs and five runs batted in. New Ranger Alex Rios is 2-for-6 with a triple. Craig Gentry has three hits in five at-bats against the right-hander. Elvis Andrus (2-9, 2 BB) and Ian Kinsler (2-11, 3BB) each have just as many hits as walks against Harrell.