After a day off, the Astros today enter a brutal stretch of 20 straight games. However, except for the White Sox, the competition is mostly second division. But then again, the Astros play better against winning teams than losing teams, so, there’s that.
The Astros are two-and-a-half games behind the Oakland A’s for first place in the AL West. How do the A’s do it? They have scored fewer runs than the Astros and have allowed more. Their run differential is only 24 whereas the Astros have scored 86 more runs than the competition.
Here’s how. the A’s have won 12 one-run games. The Astros only 5. And of course, the A’s win their extra-inning games, and the Astros?... Well, not so much.
Today the Astros take on the Rangers at Minute Maid. Lance McCullers (2.96 ERA) returns to the mound after an IL trip. He faces Kyle Gibson (2.13 ERA) who has been the consistent ace of the Rangers so far this year. Since a bad outing on opening day, Gibson has allowed more than two runs only once (3). On May 16th he held the Astros to two runs in seven innings.
With an uncertain McCullers probably on a short leash followed by the shaky Astros bullpen, this looks like a good chance for the Rangers to steal one on the road from the Astros.
(I’m practicing a negative jinx)
For more on this game and the short two-game Rangers series, take a look at ckuno’s excellent analysis here.
Here’s the lineups.
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
Oh yeah. Check out the new Kyle Tucker Breaking T-shirt HERE