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Game No. 147 Preview: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers

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Houston sends rookie phenom Lance McCullers, Jr. to the mound in an effort to salvage a piece of the Lone Star Series and limp to a 3-7 road trip.

Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena are among several Astros starters in today's lineup who have met with success against aging Rangers veteran Colby Lewis
Evan Gattis and Luis Valbuena are among several Astros starters in today's lineup who have met with success against aging Rangers veteran Colby Lewis
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (77-69) at Texas Rangers (78-67), Sep 17, 2015 7:05 PM CDT

TV: Root Sports SW, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
Rangers SB Nation Blog: Lone Star Ball

Pitching Matchup:

RHP Lance McCullers, Jr. (5-5, 3.10 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) vs. RHP Colby Lewis (15-8, 4.45 ERA,
1.21 WHIP)

Preview:

Lance McCullers, Jr. will take the mound for the Astros tonight with vengeance in his heart,
looking to exact retribution for his last appearance in Globe Life Park - his lone disastrous
start of an otherwise incredible rookie campaign in which he allowed seven runs and
failed to escape the first inning, being relieved before ultimately being jettisoned to the
minor leagues after the game to rest his 21 year old arm some for this very stretch run.

Lance McCullers remembers.

His teammates and coaches have mentioned throughout the year that he has a
tremendous competitive drive, and it has shown in many of his starts.  None have ever
been so huge for the diminutive dynamo as this start, however.

Get your popcorn ready.

His mound opponent in the game will be 36 year old right-hander Colby Lewis, who has
pitched very well in his career against the Astros and who has improved each month since
a rough July, when he posted an ERA of over 5.  His August ERA was down closer to his
career mark in the mid-4 range, and his ERA through 14 innings so far in September is 3.86.

Of all the Astros players in tonight's lineup, Carlos Correa (2-6 with two home runs), Jason
Castro
(3-9 with two doubles and a home run), Luis Valbuena (3-11 with two home runs)
and Evan Gattis (3-12 with a double) have had the most success against Lewis, and
Jake Marisnick
(who is starting the game on the bench) also has a home run against the
aging veteran.

On the offensive side of the ball, Preston Tucker is finally making another appearance in
the Astros starting lineup.  His 108 wRC+ is tied for fifth on the team with Colby Rasmus,
ahead of Hank Conger, Marwin Gonzalez, Evan Gattis, Luis Valbuena, Chris Carter, Jake
Marisnick, and every other hitter (minimum 100 plate appearances) on the Astros except
for Carlos Correa, George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Jed Lowrie.  His wOBA is .328, also
good for a tie with Rasmus for fifth best on the team...behind the same four players. 
And his ISO (isometric power) sits at .203, which is good for sixth on the team.  Astros
fans have been clamoring for his return to the starting lineup, and today they shall be
rewarded.

Here are the lineups for tonight's game:

Astros lineup


Rangers lineup