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2021 Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Houston Astros

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The Astros (37-28, 2nd in AL West) begin a stretch of 20 games without an off day, starting with two against the Rangers (25-41, 5th in AL West)

MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Notes

The Rangers limp into town as one of the worst teams in baseball with just Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Arizona being the only ones with a lower win percentage. They’ve only won one of their last ten series, but that was a sweep against these same Astros, so there’s a feather in their cap. Other than that they’ve done nothing to improve their standings and are well on their way to a lost year in 2021 as they try and figure out the future.

Last 10 Games: 3-7 Record, 3 Series Loss, 1 Series Split

W/L Splits: 15-16 at home, 10-25 on the road, 18-28 against teams over .500


Offense: South Oklahoma’s offense has been absolutely atrocious this season, mustering a paltry .230/.301/.373 slash line as a group. Their collective .674 OPS is 25th in the league, mostly thanks to a lack of power. The Rangers rank in the bottom half of the league when it comes to homers (71 - t-18th) and are 27th in doubles (81). Of course there are some bright spots, as with every offense, but those are few and far between.

Notable Players:

  • Adolis Garcia (.272/.306/.525) continues to be a breakout star for the Rangers and probably their most exciting player to watch this season. He leads the team in home runs at 16 and has 46 RBI, including several game winners. He doesn’t take a lot of walks though, with just 10 in 229 PA this year.
  • Joey Gallo (.220/.380/.405) is probably the Rangers’ most talked about offensive trade piece this season. As usual he’s delivering when it comes to power (11 homers) and getting on base (50 walks), but his .220 average and high K rate (81 in 205 AB) continue to make him a into “true outcome” player.

Pitching: The Rangers are kind of the complete package when it comes to how awful both their pitching and batting have been. Their staff as a whole are bottom dwellers when it comes to collective ERA (4.60, 22nd), WHIP (1.37, 24th) and BAA (.264, 29th). The blame can be spread pretty equally between the bullpen and the starters for these stats, without either group really stepping up so far this season.

Notable Relievers:

  • Ian Kennedy: Kennedy has been the Rangers’ bullpen ace and lockdown closer, successfully converting 12 of 13 opportunities and turning in a 2.53 ERA. Unfortunately for him, he also recently went on the IL with a hamstring issue, and will be unavailable for this series. The Rangers will probably run a closer-by-committee situation as they await his return.
  • John King: King is the best reliever in the pen after Kennedy, but seems more likely to remain in his long man role rather than taking over in the 9th. King has seen the most work of any reliever in the Rangers’ pen, having pitched 34.1 innings across 23 games. He has a 2.36 ERA in those frames, which is the bullpen’s best among pitchers who have seen significant time this season.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Kyle Gibson (RHP, 4-0, 2.13 ERA, 58 K’s) vs Lance McCullers Jr. (RHP, 3-1, 2.96 ERA, 59 K’s)

The Astros face a tough test right out of the gate as they draw Kyle Gibson for Game 1. Gibson has been the Rangers ace in 2021 and recently returned from the IL without skipping a beat. In the two starts since his return he’s gone 11.2 innings and surrendered just 2 runs. This will be his second start against Houston in 2021, tossing 7 innings of 2-run ball at MMP his last time around.

Game 2: Jordan Lyles (RHP, 2-4, 5.37 ERA, 57 K’s) vs Zack Greinke (RHP, 6-2, 3.68 ERA, 62 K’s)

Lyles has been pitching well in his recent starts, managing to lower his ERA by a little more than 2 full runs since the start of May. He did not do so well in his last start against the Astros though, giving up 4 runs in 6 innings of work.

For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Tuesday, June 15th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Rangers - 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2
Watch: Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

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Game 2: Wednesday June 16th @ 7:10 pm CDT
Listen: Rangers - 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270 / Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2
Watch: Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest / Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW

Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    Astros Sweep 2-0
    (103 votes)
  • 17%
    Series Split 1-1
    (22 votes)
  • 3%
    Rangers Sweep 2-0
    (4 votes)
129 votes total Vote Now