The In-State Rivalry known as the Lonestar Series between the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros has come to Arlington for just the second time this year. The Rangers now sit second in the AL West above the struggling Angels but still eight and a half games behind Houston. The Astros lead the Lonestar Series six games to two so far this season, so here’s a look at both teams before game one of the series on Monday night.
The Rangers have been playing good baseball recently as they’ve been able to hold their own against some of the better teams in the AL, such as the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox, both of which they’ve split series with.
The questionable large contracts given to Corey Seager and Marcus Semien during the off-season are finally starting to pay off for Texas. Semien is 14-for-43 with five home runs, a double, and seven RBI over his last ten games to raise his batting average to .217. Seager has started to do well also, raising his batting average to a .218 with 12 home runs this season.
Adolis Garcia continues to be a star for the Rangers as he’s had ten doubles, two triples, 12 home runs, and 40 RBI so far this season. The offense has shown that it can hold its own in games, but the pitching draws concern.
Outside of Martin Perez, the Rangers rotation isn’t great. Jon Gray pitched one of his best games in a Rangers uniform on Sunday, but the rest of the rotation needs help. Only Perez has an ERA below 2.50; the next best is Glenn Otto with a 4.24. The pitching is the main area the Rangers need to address if they want to have any shot of knocking off Houston for the AL West crown.
The Astros took control of the AL West in May and haven’t looked back. As it sits right now, the Astros are the only team in the AL West with a winning record, but it hasn’t been too great as of late.
Houston’s offense hasn’t been performing to what Astros fans are accustomed to, with corner infielders Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel struggling at the plate. Outfielder Yordan Alvarez is putting together a great season with a .311 batting average, 17 home runs, and 41 RBI. Jose Altuve isn’t far behind, with his batting average climbing to .279 with 12 home runs and 23 RBI. It’s only time before the rest of the lineup becomes consistent.
The pitching has been solid this season, with a few rough games as of late. Ace Justin Verlander has continued his rampage and has brought his ERA back below two. Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy have been getting hit around a lot lately and will look to get back on track. Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia continue to hold their own, with a rough game every now and then.
The Astros are on pace to win their fifth AL West title in six years, and it doesn’t look like anyone will stop them.
Both teams come into this series playing good baseball, and this series could go either way as a result. Here are the pitching probables for each game:
Game One: Taylor Hearn vs Cristian Javier
Game Two: Dane Dunning vs. Jose Urquidy
Game Three: Luis Garcia vs. (TBD)
Even though the series could go either way, the Astros have played well outside of Houston and will more than likely take the series two games to one against Texas, who has struggled at home thus far.
Agree with the prediction? Let me know in the comments!
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