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Game No. 55 Preview: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers

Earn it.

MLB: Houston Astros at Minnesota Twins Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros (38-16) vs. Texas Rangers (26-28), June 2, 2017, 7:05 p.m. CT

TV: ROOT Sports SW, Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KBME 790 AM, La Nueva 94.1 FM
Online: MLB.TV, Fox Sports Go
Rangers SBNation Blog: Lone Star Ball

Pitching Matchup

LHP Dallas Keuchel (8-0, 1.81 ERA, 0.88 WHIP) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (5-3, 2.97 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)

Preview

The Houston Are riding high as the hottest team in baseball, facing their cross-state rivals in Arlington for a three-game series. The Astros could go a long way to slamming the door shut on the AL West after being hot garbage against the Rangers the past two seasons.

The two teams send out their aces in game one: Dallas Keuchel vs. Yu Darvish. Keuchel has found his groove again after struggling in 2016. He currently has a career-high groundball rate (67.6%), an insane number for even Keuchel. Keuchel has found his feel for his changeup in 2017, using it 13.2% of the time after a big dip in use in 2016 (9.3%). His other pitches are at very similar rates (fastball 52.7%, slider 22.6%, 11.6% cutter).

Keuchel is 5-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 18 career starts against the Rangers. He was 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts against the Rangers in 2016. Elvis Andrus (.208, five doubles) and Adrian Beltre (.269) have 50-plus career at-bats against Keuchel. Ryan Rua (.438) and Mike Napoli (.444) have had success in 10-plus at-bats.

Rangers career stats vs. Dallas Keuchel

BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Elvis Andrus 53 11 1 1 0 5 3 9 0.208 0.246 0.264 0.510
Adrian Beltre 52 14 5 0 1 5 4 5 0.269 0.321 0.423 0.745
Prince Fielder 33 8 2 0 1 4 2 8 0.242 0.286 0.394 0.680
Shin-Soo Choo 27 7 3 0 0 1 0 8 0.259 0.276 0.370 0.646
Rougned Odor 24 2 0 0 1 2 1 6 0.083 0.154 0.208 0.362
Delino DeShields 19 2 1 0 0 1 2 5 0.105 0.190 0.158 0.348
Ryan Rua 16 7 2 0 0 2 0 3 0.438 0.471 0.563 1.033
Robinson Chirinos 15 2 1 0 0 0 2 5 0.133 0.235 0.200 0.435
Nomar Mazara 11 4 1 0 0 1 0 4 0.364 0.364 0.455 0.818
Jurickson Profar 10 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.300 0.300 0.300 0.600
Mike Napoli 9 4 1 0 1 3 3 2 0.444 0.583 0.889 1.472
Carlos Gomez 7 2 2 0 0 0 0 4 0.286 0.286 0.571 0.857
Hanser Alberto 5 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 0.400 0.400 0.400 0.800
Jonathan Lucroy 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.667 0.500 1.000 1.500
Peter O'Brien 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 4.000 5.000
Pete Kozma 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

Yu Darvish has continued to constantly good for the Rangers since he joined the team in 2012. He was 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA In five starts during the month of May. Darvish has allowed five earned runs over his last 11 innings (1-1).

Darvish making his first start against the Rangers in 2017. In his career against Houston, Darvish is 4-4 with a 3.51 ERA in 12 starts. He was 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts against Houston in 2016.

Jake Marisnick (.429) and George Springer (.417) have had success with small sample sizes against the Rangers ace. Springer has two home runs in 12 at-bats against Darvish. Jose Altuve has struggled mightily, batting .185 in 27 at-bats with six strikeouts.

Astros career stats against Darvish

BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Elvis Andrus 53 11 1 1 0 5 3 9 0.208 0.246 0.264 0.510
Adrian Beltre 52 14 5 0 1 5 4 5 0.269 0.321 0.423 0.745
Prince Fielder 33 8 2 0 1 4 2 8 0.242 0.286 0.394 0.680
Shin-Soo Choo 27 7 3 0 0 1 0 8 0.259 0.276 0.370 0.646
Rougned Odor 24 2 0 0 1 2 1 6 0.083 0.154 0.208 0.362
Delino DeShields 19 2 1 0 0 1 2 5 0.105 0.190 0.158 0.348
Ryan Rua 16 7 2 0 0 2 0 3 0.438 0.471 0.563 1.033
Robinson Chirinos 15 2 1 0 0 0 2 5 0.133 0.235 0.200 0.435
Nomar Mazara 11 4 1 0 0 1 0 4 0.364 0.364 0.455 0.818
Jurickson Profar 10 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0.300 0.300 0.300 0.600
Mike Napoli 9 4 1 0 1 3 3 2 0.444 0.583 0.889 1.472
Carlos Gomez 7 2 2 0 0 0 0 4 0.286 0.286 0.571 0.857
Hanser Alberto 5 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 0.400 0.400 0.400 0.800
Jonathan Lucroy 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 0.667 0.500 1.000 1.500
Peter O'Brien 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 4.000 5.000
Pete Kozma 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000