Rangers News: Rangers Open Critical Series With Astros


Jul 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers center fielder Delino DeShields (7) and shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) celebrate Andrus

The Texas Rangers (51-53) will take on the Houston Astros (60-46) on Monday evening in Arlington, in what shapes up to be a gigantic series for the Texas Rangers . If you recall the last time these two teams faced off, it got mighty chippy. This rivalry has found its spark again with both teams playing good baseball, and I expect this to be an exciting series. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT from Globe Life Park in Arlington. Jeff Banister will turn to veteran starter Colby Lewis (11-4, 4.42 ERA) and the Houston Astros will counter with the rookie Lance McCullers (5-3, 2.48 ERA). Fox Sports Southwest will broadcast the game live locally, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch worldwide on connected devices.

Tonights pitching matchup proves to be an interesting one as both pitchers come in pitching well of late. Colby Lewis is currently on a three game winning streak, giving up just two earned runs in each of his last three starts. One thing to keep an eye on for tonights game, the Houston Astros lead the MLB in home runs with 148. That could spell trouble for Colby Lewis as he has given up a home run in each of his last six starts. It will be imperative for him to keep the ball down and to keep the ball in the ballpark, or it could be a long night.

Lance McCullers has been awfully impressive for the Astros, and this will be the first time that the Rangers have faced the rookie. When it is the first time for a pitcher to face a team it’s usually advantage pitcher, but the Rangers will try and buck that trend tonight. He’s got a fastball that he likes to use a lot, 54.4% of the time to be exact, and he throws it with an impressive velocity that sits in the mid 90’s. He also has a big curveball that he will lean on, and a change up that he uses to keep hitters off balance. The Rangers have been a good fastball hitting team so far this year and I hope they can keep that going tonight.

Rangers skipper Jeff Banister has announced the lineups for tonight’s game:

DeShields Leading Off

I personally love having Delino DeShields as the leadoff man. I think he brings some much needed speed to this lineup and I also believe it makes this lineup much deeper. With him in the leadoff position, you’re able to have Odor slide into the two hole, and slide the struggling Shin Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus all the way down to the seven and eight spot. Sure those two haven’t produced like Rangers fans were hoping for, but having a Shin Soo Choo and Elvis Andrus that far down is almost an embarrassment of riches. Having Delino at the top of the order makes this offense all the more potent, especially when you consider his base stealing ability.

Pick To Click

I’m going to go solely on feel here, as no Texas Rangers player has faced McCullers. But after yesterdays home run and facing a predominantly fastball pitcher, I’m going to go with Josh Hamilton as my pick to click. Josh is a fastball hitter and he can turn on one as well as anybody on this team. In the past week he is hitting .292 with two home runs and eight RBIs and I look for him to continue his recent success tonight. Look for Josh to go 2-4 tonight with a home run and a couple RBIs.

Final Score Prediction

This is a tough one to pick because both teams come in playing some great baseball. The Astros will try and widen their gap in the AL West, and the Rangers are motivated to continue to climb in both the AL West and the Wild Card Standings. Ultimately tonight I just don’t like the matchup, as Colby Lewis is prone to giving up the long ball and no one hits them more frequently than the Houston Astros. I look for the Houston Astros to take the opener 6-4 in what I believe will be a thrilling game from start to finish.

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