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2021 Series Preview: Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers

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The Astros (83-59, 1st in AL West) continue their end of season tour through the western divisions with four against the Rangers (53-89, 5th in AL West)

Houston Astros v Texas Rangers Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Quick Notes

The Astros waltz into town to face a Rangers team that is on the tail end of a pretty good week. They’ve won 6 of their last 7 games, including a series win against Oakland, which I’m sure has earned the gratitude of some Astros fans. Arlington has played well in recent series, grabbing a mini-sweep from the Diamondbacks and taking two out of four from the Angels.

Of course, that did nothing to improve the situation with the Rangers’ record, which remains abysmal. Firmly settled in the middle of a rebuild, the Rangers’ product on the field continues to underwhelm. The team has seen some bright spots, but you can’t shine the turd that has been their 2021 campaign, which is ultimately destined to be flushed.

Still, the Rangers have certainly been a nemesis for a while, and any time you can bring a division foe down a peg or two is a time to play with some extra urgency. That being said, this is hardly the team of the mid-2010’s that used to terrorize the Astros.

On top of that, the Astros are playing with a little urgency of their own as they have yet to really put the division to bed. Things are trending in the right direction, and a 6.5 game lead at this point in the season is solid gold, but this series represents a chance for Houston to add to that and hang the West further out of reach for both the M’s and A’s.

Last 10 Games: 6-4 Record, 1 Series Win, 1 Series Mini-Sweep, 1 Series Split, +3 Run Differential (47 Scored, 44 Allowed)

W/L Splits: 31-37 at home, 22-52 on the road, 32-58 against teams over .500


On the Field

The Rangers’ offense remains sluggish, especially after the trade of Joey Gallo and the cooling off of slugger Adolis Garcia. The young team will continue to steal bags, though they haven’t done it at as high of a clip as they were earlier in the season.

But the Rangers are also more patient at the plate than you’d expect for such a young team, not really striking out that much with just 1,219 K’s (11th least in MLB). At the same time they don’t really walk a whole lot, sporting just 381 base on balls, which is 29th most on the league. But that really doesn’t matter all that much with a collective .231/.294/.378 to share amongst the team.

As for the pitching, well, there’s not really a lot to be pumped about. A collective 4.65 ERA for the pitching staff doesn’t really promote a whole lot of confidence. A lot of the blame for that stat goes to the rotation, who are on the bad end of the average, but a combined 4.15 ERA for the bullpen isn’t a whole lot to crow about either.

Expect to see Joe Barlow (RHP, 1.59 ERA, 22.2 IP, 21 K’s) in the game for save situations. He’s logged five in the past month for the Rangers and seems to have taken nicely to role since the trade deadline.


Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Jake Odorizzi (RHP, 6-7, 4.28 ERA, 85 K’s) vs Spencer Howard (RHP, 0-3, 6.21 ERA, 41 K’s)

Spencer Howard has been deployed as a tandem starter for the Rangers this season, and hasn’t pitched more than 3 innings for Arlington since coming over from the Phillies. Howard also recently returned from the COVID-IL, and was on a pitch limit in his last start, where he only went 2 innings. Don’t expect him to go deep into this one is what I’m trying to say.

Game 2: Zack Greinke (RHP, 11-5, 3.66 ERA, 110 K’s) vs Jordan Lyles (RHP, 8-11, 5.43 ERA, 124 K’s)

Jordan Lyles has had a rocky season punctuated by up and down months. He seems almost as likely to go 6+ innings with just a single run surrendered or give up 6 to 8 by the 5th. Lyles hasn’t seen Houston since June when they hung 5 runs on him in just 4.1 innings of work.

Game 3: Jose Urquidy (RHP, 6-3, 3.51 ERA, 72 K’s) vs Kohei Arihara (RHP, 2-3, 5.89 ERA, 23 K’s)

Arihara is in the middle of a rookie campaign that could be better. Mostly it’s been marred by three consecutive starts back in May just before he went on the IL and spent some time back down in Round Rock. He’s had two starts in September that have been pretty good, but he hasn’t gone very deep in either. This will be his first career start against the Astros.

Game 4: Framber Valdez (LHP, 10-5, 3.26 ERA, 109 K’s) vs TBD


For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, September 13th @ 7:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2 / Rangers - 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest

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Game 2: Tuesday, September 14th @ 7:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2 / Rangers - 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest

Game 3: Wednesday, September 15th @ 7:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2 / Rangers - 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest

Game 4: Thursday, September 16th @ 7:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KLAT 1010, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2 / Rangers - 105.3 The Fan, KFLC 1270
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Astros Sweep 4-0
    (15 votes)
  • 66%
    Astros Win 3-1
    (67 votes)
  • 15%
    Series Split 2-2
    (16 votes)
  • 1%
    Rangers Win 3-1
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Rangers Sweep 4-0
    (1 vote)
101 votes total Vote Now