Rangers at Astros, 5/1-5/4
4-15 last year. You know the drill.
What have the Rangers been doing?
11-14 for April, 2-4 on their last homestand… I like this version of the Rangers.
The Rangers are hitting .220/.298/.392 as a team… and yet have scored 114 runs. If you can explain how a team that is 28th in average, 24th in on base percentage, and 21st in slugging ends up 10th in runs scored, you’re one up on me.
On the pitching side, the Rangers’ team ERA of 3.89 places them 9th in the majors, but comfortably behind the Astros’ 3.38. The difference is in their splits; the Rangers starters have a 3.37 ERA, slightly better than Houston’s (thanks, Fiers) – but the bullpen has a stout 4.75 ERA, almost 2 full runs more than Houston’s mighty pen and sword.
What have the Astros been doing?
Monday, 7:10 CDT – Cashner (0-2, 2.93) at McCullers (2-1, 4.34)
The Astros are 11 for 37 (.297) with no homers against Cashner, who has received absolutely no run support from his teammates this year. That 2.93 ERA also belies a lofty 1.70 WHIP, so the luck still appears to reside in
Texas Dallas Arlington. Let us hope for good things from McCann (2 for 5) and Aoki (4 for 14), because Cashner has been absolutely dominant against the Astros during his career.
Thankfully the rotation places McCullers in the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park. LMJ has now gone 22 straight starts at MMPUS allowing 3 runs or less, the longest such streak since Pedro Martinez. This is another great mystery of the universe – how can the guy with a 2.08 home ERA over his career have a 5.32 road ERA? As for matchups, current Rangers are 11 for 28 (.393) with 2 homers against McCullers, with the biggest damage coming from Choo (3 or 4, 1 HR) and Napoli (3 for 5, 1 HR).
Tuesday, 7:10 CDT – Hamels (2-0, 3.03) at Fiers (0-1, 5.12)
This fuckin’ guy. Current Astros are .228 (42 for 184) against him, but at least they have 8 homers. The good news is Altuve has managed 6 for 19 with a homer, and Gattis (whom you would expect to start) is 7 for 24 with 3 homers. Let’s hope that Captain Caveman carries things because Beltran is only 8 for 35 lifetime, and Correa is 1 for freaking 13.
Continuing the theme of the inexplicable… Mike Fiers has held the Rangers to 9 for 44. Lets say that again:
Mike Fiers has held a group of professional baseball players to only a .205 average.
(Of course, 3 of those 9 hits are homers.)
Odor is 3 for 9, and that’s about it… Andrus is 2 for 8, and Choo is 0 for 3.
Wednesday, 7:10 CDT – Martinez (0-0, 2.77) at Morton (2-2, 4.50)
Martinez has really struggled with the Astros – 22/66 (.333) with 3 home runs going to make for a nice early night of that bullpen. Altuve (5/15), Marwin (3/6) and especially Reddick (7/14, 1 HR) will look to make hay, while McCann (0/5) and Correa (0/4) try to get off the schneid.
Morton seems like he’s pitching better than a 4.50 ERA would suggest, and the Rangers present an opportunity to build on that. Current Rangers are only 12 for 47 (.255) – but if you can believe it, Carlos Gomez of all people looks primed to go off; 5 for 13 with 1 home run.
Thursday, 1:10 CDT – Griffin (2-0, 4.11) at Musgrove (1-2, 4.88)
AJ Griffin has found great success against the Astros – he’s held them to 14 for 69 (.203) with 17 strikeouts. Altuve has managed 8 for 18, but look at the rest of the regulars and despair:
- Springer 1/9
- Aoki 1/6
- Bregman 1/6
- Correa 1/9
- Gattis 0/4
- McCann 0/5
Hopefully we’ve wrapped up a series win by this point.
Musgrove has held the Rangers to 10 for 43 (.233) with 12 strikeouts, but has struggled against Nomar Mazara (4 for 9, 2 home runs).