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Series Preview: Astros vs. Rangers, July 17-19, 2015

Astros face their in-state rivals to open the second half of the 2015 season.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Astros vs. Rangers, July 17-19, 2015

The Astros look to get back on track after losing six-straight heading into the All-Star break and dropping out of first place in the American League West for the first time since April. The Rangers weren't much better heading into the break, dropping 8 of their last ten games.

The Astros and Rangers hope to have their All-Stars lead them back to the playoffs, for the Astros it's been just over 9 seasons and the Rangers it's been two seasons without a playoff run.

The Rangers are 4-2 this season against the Astros, including handing the Astros their first sweep of the season on May 4-6.

Pitching

Game 1 - RHP Collin McHugh (9-5, 4.50 ERA, 1.26 WHIP) vs. LHP Martin Perez (15-13, 4.13 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) 
Game 2 - RHP Scott Feldman (4-4, 4.80 ERA, 1.37 WHIP) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (8-4, 4.77 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)
Game 3 - LHP Dallas Keuchel (11-4, 2.23 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) vs. RHP Yovani Gallardo (7-8, 2.62 ERA, 1.23 WHIP)

Collin McHugh makes the first start with Dallas Keuchel pitching the All-Star Game. McHugh lost his last two starts before the break, but he has four quality starts out of his last five outings. McHugh is 2-0 with 2.08 ERA in two career starts against the Rangers. Martin Perez is returning to the mound for the first time since May 19, 2014 after Tommy John Surgery. He posted a 0-1 record with a 4.56 ERA in six starts on rehab assignment at Double-A Frisco and Round Rock.

Scott Feldman returns to the Astros rotation after having surgery on a torn right medial meniscus. He was 0-0 with a four earned runs allowed in eight innings in two rehab starts with Double-A Corpus Christi. Colby Lewis was 5-3 with a 4.58 ERA in nine starts on the road in the first half. Lewis is 6-1 with 1.85 ERA in 12 career appearances against the Astros.

Dallas Keuchel started for the American League in the 2015 All-Star game after leading the AL in wins (11), innings pitched (137 1/3) and WAR (4.6). Yovani Gallardo was 4-2 with a 1.29 ERA in his last ten starts before the All-Star Break.

Prediction

The Astros get solid outings from McHugh and Keuchel, taking two of three games.