Rangers News: Rangers Hope to Sweep the Astros


Jul 31, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Nick Martinez (22) is congratulated by his teammates after leaving the field during the game against the San Francisco Giants at Globe Life Park in Arlington. The Rangers defeated the Giants 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers (53-53) will go for the sweep this afternoon against the AL West leading Houston Astros (60-48) at Globe Life Park in Arlington. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm from Arlington, Texas. The Rangers will hand the ball to Nick Martinez (6-6, 4.01 ERA) as he will look to put together another nice performance after his strong outing against the Giants. The Rangers will need a strong performance from Martinez, because the Houston Astros will turn to staff ace Scott Kazmir (6-5, 2.10 ERA) hoping to salvage a game of the three game series. Fox Sports Southwest will carry the game live locally, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch worldwide on connected devices.

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Texas’ three game winning streak has been huge, especially considering that the last two wins came against the division leader. The Rangers are just six games back of the division leading Houston Astros, and they find themselves right in the thick of things for the wild card at two games back. No one outside of the DFW area seems to be talking about this team, but you have to think that that’s only adding fuel to the fire for the surging ball club.

Rangers’ boss Jeff Banister and Houston manager A.J. Hinch have released the following lineups for today’s finale:

Right Handed Heavy Lineup

All year Jeff Banister has gone with matchups, and he has done that again this evening. 27-year-old “prospect” Ryan Strausborger will make his MLB debut tonight, hitting second and playing right field.

To be blunt, I’m not a huge fan of this lineup, especially considering that the lineup the Rangers had been using was clicking on all cylinders. Josh HamiltonShin Soo Choo, and Rougned Odor all get the night off and I think that has every bit to do with the lefty the mound. But I think Banister might be overthinking himself here as both Choo and Hamilton have had great success against Kazmir. Lifetime against Kamir, Choo is hitting .333 (4-for-12) and Josh Hamilton has faired even better than Choo, hitting .368 with two homeruns and six RBIs.

I get wanting to give guys a breather every now and then, but with a chance to sweep the division leaders and an off day tomorrow, I would’ve like to see Odor, Hamilton, and Choo in the lineup.

Pick to Click

No Ranger in tonight’s lineup has had any success off of Kazmir so I’m going to have to go on a limb. Prince Fielder has been the best Rangers hitter all year and he is my pick to click tonight. Fielder is 2-for-16 lifetime off Kazmir, but I expect him to reverse the trend tonight. You can only keep a premier hitter like Fielder at bay for so long and I expect for Fielder to finally turn the tide against Kazmir tonight. Look for Fielder to go 2-4 with a home run tonight.

Final Score Prediction

Sweeping someone is one of the hardest things to do in baseball, especially when you are going up against the other teams ace. The Astros are a prideful bunch, division leaders, and they aren’t going to roll over. Nick Martinez was much better in his last start, but hasn’t been great all year. Kazmir had a historic month of July and he now owns the best ERA in the AL. He’ll face a depleted Rangers lineup that’s resting some of their more imposing hitters, and for that reason I expect the Astros to get the win tonight. Look for the Astros to salvage a game and win by a final score of 6-3. Hopefully I’m wrong and this Rangers lineup can surprise me, but I just think Scott Kazmir will ultimately be too much.

Next: Chronicling Leonys Martin's Struggles

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