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2022 Series Preview 6: Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers

The Astros (7-8, 4th in AL West) head up I-45 for a 4-game set against the hapless Rangers (5-10, 5th in AL West)

MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Narrative

Hey everyone, gonna keep this preview short and sweet since I got in late last night and have to play catch up at work today after being off most of last week. But with a Rangers-Astros series on tap I couldn’t leave y’all hanging!

The Arlington Rangers came into this season after spending a huge chunk of change to improve their infield by signing big boy contracts for Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. They also continued their prolific offseason by signing former Rockies ace Jon Gray and perennial Western division player Kole Calhoun.

But these moves, though flashy, were never really meant to put the Rangers into “win now” mode according to the FO. Instead, they lock down some big name talent for multiple years (Seager signed a 10-year deal and Semien got 7) while the farm system produces homegrown talent. Their system is currently ranked 11th according to MLB pipeline.

So far everything has gone according to plan? The Rangers are sitting at the bottom of the division with a 5-10 record and don’t really look to be rising quickly. Even Seager and Semien are helping out as both have a sub-.600 OPS. It seems as though the only player who didn’t get the memo about laying low is 1B Nathaniel Lowe, who has a .373/.413/.475 slash line and is the only regular starter with an OPS higher than .608 in the early goings.

Arlington’s pitching hasn’t been much better, currently sporting a collective ERA of 5.08, good for 27th in the league. The team’s WHIP (1.44, 26th in MLB) and BAA (.253, 26th in MLB) doesn’t really breed a whole lot of confidence that improvement is on the way in that department.

Expect to see Joe Barlow (RHP, 4.1 IP, 4.15 ERA, 7 K’s), Matt Bush (RHP, 6.0 IP, 3.00 ERA, 8 K’s), and Spencer Patton (RHP , 7.0 IP, 3.86 ERA, 5 K’s) late in games if the Rangers have the lead. Barlow is ostensibly the closer, but Bush and Patton have both seen high leverage work this season so don’t be surprised if they make appearances in the 9th as well. Bush is the only reliever to actually log a save for the Rangers this season, but Barlow does have a win under his belt.


The Starters

Game 1: Framber Valdez (LHP, 1-1, 4.50 ERA, 12 K’s) vs Dane Dunning (RHP, 0-1, 5.68 ERA, 14 K’s)

Dunning comes into this start after struggling to give the Rangers length his last two turns through the rotation. He’s only managed 7.2 innings during those starts and surrendered 5 runs. Expect to see the bullpen early in this game unless Dunning can break the mold.

Game 2: Jake Odorizzi (RHP, 0-2, 9.00 ERA, 5 K’s) vs Taylor Hearn (LHP, 0-1, 7.59 ERA, 14 K’s)

Like his rotation mate, Hearn has not been going deep into games with the Rangers so far this season, but he’s actually been worse. He’s only been able to give Arlington 10.2 IP across 3 starts and has been slapped with 9 runs during those frames. His last time out was definitely the worst of the season, giving up 5 runs in just 3.0 innings of work.

Game 3: Cristian Javier (RHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 K’s) vs Glen Otto (RHP, 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 5 K’s)

Otto was part of the Joey Gallo trade last season but got roughed up in the Rangers rotation and ended 2021 with an ERA over 9. He started this season in AAA, but was called up to replace Jon Gray in the rotation after he went on the IL. He’s made a case to stick around for a bit after a strong showing in Oakland, going 5 innings with only a single run allowed.

Game 4: Justin Verlander (RHP, 1-1, 1.89 ERA, 20 K’s) vs Martín Pérez (LHP, 0-2. 3.86 ERA, 12 K’s)

Pérez turned in one of his best starts ever last time out, tossing 6 innings of shutout ball that saw only 3 baserunners. Pérez has been more or less league average for a majority of his career though, so I’m not sure how much to read into that. His first two starts were a little more his style, with 7 runs (6 earned) on his ledger after just 8.0 innings of work.


For Your Viewing and Listening Pleasure

Game 1: Monday, April 25th @ 7:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010 / Rangers - KFLC 1270, KRLD 1080, 105.3 The Fan
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest Extra

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Game 2: Tuesday, April 26th @ 7:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010 / Rangers - KFLC 1270, KRLD 1080, 105.3 The Fan
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest

Game 3: Wednesday, April 27th @ 7:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010 / Rangers - KFLC 1270, KRLD 1080, 105.3 The Fan
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest

Game 4: Thursday, April 28th @ 1:05 pm CDT
Listen: Astros - KBME 790 AM/94.5 FM HD-2, KTRH 740 AM/99.1 FM HD-2, TUDN 93.3/KLAT 1010 / Rangers - KFLC 1270, KRLD 1080, 105.3 The Fan
Watch: Astros - ATT SportsNet-SW / Rangers - Bally Sports Southwest


Poll

Who wins this series?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Astros Sweep 4-0
    (23 votes)
  • 52%
    Astros Win 3-1
    (56 votes)
  • 17%
    Series Split 2-2
    (19 votes)
  • 4%
    Rangers Win 3-1
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    Rangers Sweep 4-0
    (3 votes)
106 votes total Vote Now