Last year the Rangers and Astros met 19 times with Texas coming out on top in 17 of those games. That is a huge reason as to why the Rangers had a chance to make the playoffs. Unfortunately, David Price shut them down and ended their season in a wild-card play-in game. Houston hasn’t given Texas much resistence in recent history and Texas needs to continue that trend.
The Rangers have 2 remaining games with the Astros and must win all 3. Monday, Colby Lewis continued his dominance at Minute Maid Park picking up a win after 5.2 shutout innings and 8 strikeouts, helping Texas to a 4-0 win. Hopefully Lewis’ performance is a precursor of what’s to come with this rotation. After good starts to the season from Martin Perez and Robbie Ross, their performances and the lack of consistency with the rest of the rotation, except Yu Darvish, has hurt this team.
They ran into a buzz-saw in the Colorado Rockies, allowing 29 runs and giving up 50 hits in 3 games. They finally were able to stop the bleeding behind Matt Harrison’s 1st win of the season in a 5-0 shutout. This 3-game set against Houston could propel the Rangers into a winning streak and help them gain some ground on Oakland, who are currently 4 games ahead of Texas in the AL West standings.
Matt Harrison takes on Dallas Keuchel Tuesday while Nick Tepesch gets the call-up and will face Scott Feldman on Wednesday to end the series. Tepesch gets the call-up due to Texas pushing back Martin Perez. The thought is that Perez, left elbow inflammation, will be placed on the DL but most believe he will avoid a lengthy stint.
Harrison must go out and pitch well and deep into the game. Harrison and Lewis are the veterans of this staff and need to lead by example. Tepesch will have a tough task going up against former Ranger Scott Feldman Wednesday. Tepesch showed last year that he has the stuff to go 6 innings and keep the team in any ballgame. Feldman has been one of the top pitchers in baseball this season and went toe-to-toe with Yu Darvish in a classic earlier this season.
If this lineup can start hitting and get hot during the next week this team can easily make up some ground and put themselves in good position heading into the 3rd month of the season. With Derek Holland and Jurickson Profar possibly returning within the next month this team can make a run for the division and a deep playoff run. The question is, do the Rangers have to sweep Houston for all this to happen?
NOTE: Rougned Odor crushed his first career home-run into the upper deck in right field.