Houston Astros (16-9) vs. Texas Rangers (11-14), May 1, 2017, 7:10 PM CT
RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 4.34 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (0-2, 2.93 ERA, 1.70 WHIP)
The Astros are 10-28 against the Rangers over the past two seasons. One of the main reasons the Astros didn’t make the playoffs in 2016 was the Rangers, who dominated Houston with a 15-4 record.
If the Astros hope to make a splash in 2017 it will be with at least a decent record against the Rangers. Even a nearly even record would be a success for the Astros at this point.
That said it would also help the “natural rivalry" with the Rangers be an actual rivalry if the Astros picked up wins. Houston is just 4-12 in yearly series during the Lone Star Series.
Part of the game one success for the Astros will be Lance McCullers on the mound. McCullers hopes to continue his success at home. He is 11-4 with a 2.08 ERA in 23 career home starts.
Rangers have had success against McCullers in three career starts, he is 0-3 with an 8.03 ERA. McCullers has to find a way to get out Elvis Andrus (.333), Shin-Soo Choo (.750), Mike Napoli (.600), and Rougned Odor (.333) who already have success against the Astros righty.
Conroe native Andrew Cashner gets his first taste of his hometown team as a Ranger. Cashner started the season on the disabled list but he's had three successful starts to open his 2017 season. He has allowed just five earned runs over 15 1/3 innings.
Cashner is 2-2 with 3.97 ERA in 10 career games (two starts) against the Astros.
Matchup to watch: George Springer vs. Andrew Cashner
Springer has just three at-bats against the Rangers right-hander. But he's 1-for-3 with a double. A successful Springer will set the table for the Astros offense.