Houston Astros (47-68) vs. Arlington Rangers (45-69), 7:10 p.m. (CST)
TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Rangers SBNation Blog: Lone Star Ball
LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-7, 4.17 ERA, 1.38 WHIP) vs. RHP Miles Mikolas (1-4, 7.29 ERA, 1.53 WHIP)
Coming into the 2014 season, would you have expected to read stories about blowing up the Rangers? Maybe not in a baseball sense because the Rangers were (will probably return to) being the class of the major leagues. Astros fans may have thought about blowing up the Rangers in a physically destructive way . Injuries have ravaged the Rangers to the point where it isn't even fun to joke about them any more. I mean come on, Jerome Williams is starting for the Rangers now. Jerome Williams is the most loveable guy I've seen on the baseball diamond but he was cut by the Astros as their long man. It's just not joke anymore, it's a tragedy. (As I wrote this Williams was DFA)
Moving on, the Rangers still have their big stars like Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre. The only problem is that nothing around them has worked - the left side of the infield has been hurt most of the season, the pitching staff outside of Darvish has been a dumpster fire. Arlington is 4-6 in their last ten games, winning their last series 2-to-1 on the road in Chicago against the White Sox.
Miles Mikolas makes his season start against the Astros this season, he allowed nine runs on 12 hits over 3.1 in his first start on July 7. He has settled down some what, in two of his last three starts he allowed only two runs over seven innings in each game. Unfortunately he had a seven-run outing against Oakland sandwiched between the two starts. In that most recent start of two-run baseball, Mikolas posted a career-high six strikeouts.
Mikolas will face an Astros lineup lead by Chris Carter. Carter leads the team in batting average (.321), slugging percentage (.643), OPS (1.019), home runs (7), doubles (6), and RBIs (20) over the last 30 days. Jason Castro appears to come out of his funk, he is batting .293 in his last 41 at-bats with three home runs. Jon Singleton was 2-for-3 with a home run against Mikolas, and Matt Dominguez was 2-for-2.
Brett Oberholtzer has been the biggest surprise of the Astros season, cast aside for Brad Peacock but fought his way back. Obe has four-straight quality starts under his belt coming into tonight's game. He held the Blue Jays to two runs over seven innings on just 92 pitches. This will be Obe's second start against the Rangers, on April 13 he held the boys from Arlington to one run over seven innings.
Adrian Beltre, noted Astro-killer, is 3-for-4 in his career against Oberholtzer. While Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios are collective 0-for-13 with seven strikeouts.
Dexter Fowler or George Springer will return to the lineup to face the Rangers this weekend - not going out on much a limb on that one. Chris Carter and Jon Singleton will continue to mash. Scott Feldman will outduel Yu Darvish, and the Astros will win two out of three.