The Texas Rangers will look to build on their hot streak as they play host to the Houston Astros in a 2-game series.
Oh how I miss the days when I could roast Houston Astros fans by referring to their team as the “Lastros”. Those days are no more. This time around, it is the Texas Rangers who find themselves in last place in the division while the Houston Astros chase back to back World Series titles. The Rangers will look to be a stumbling block though for the powerhouse ‘Stros when they come to Arlington for a 2-game series.
Can the Rangers Jump on a Struggling Dallas Keuchel?
It’s unexpected to see the word struggling next to Dallas Keuchel’s name. Once the ace of the Houston Astros pitching staff, Keuchel has taken a nosedive in 2018 and is desperately looking to regain form. Unfortunately for him, if there’s a lineup at struggling wouldn’t want to see right now, it’s the Texas Rangers headlined by Shin-Soo Choo and his 41-game on-base streak.
This Rangers hot streak has been a product of all facets of the game coming together, but hitting has perhaps been the biggest boost. A team who hit .255 in the month of June, Texas seems to have found some confidence at the plate and it’s paying off in dividends. No doubt due partially to the return of Adrian Beltre to the lineup, the Rangers once again look like the power-laden lineup we grew accustomed to seeing even in the rough years.
Call to the Pen
Texas will have to stay hot and capitalize on Dallas Keuchel’s down year. Keuchel, who has a 4.22 ERA this season, was poor in the month of June. He went just 1-1 in his 5 starts and posted 5.72 ERA which was the worst on the team. Perhaps most shockingly, opponents hit .320 against Dallas last month. If the Rangers want to snag at least a game against the division leaders, they’ll have to jump on Dallas Keuchel and exploit his shortcomings.
Will Shin-Soo Choo Keep His Streak Alive?
Shin-Soo Choo is the owner of the most impressive hitting streak in baseball right now and if not for Mike Trout, would be thought of as the hottest hitter in baseball. Currently working on a 41-game hitting streak, Choo has looked at times, impossible to pitch to. In the month of June, where Choo played 24 games, he hit an eye-popping .347 with an astronomical .466 on-base percentage. That batting average was 4th highest among those in the AL with at least 15 games played in the month. In on-base percentage, he trailed only Mike Trout when compared against the same group.
This has no doubt been an enjoyable experience for the fans and given them a reason to tune in. But more than that, it seems to be a bit of a catalyst for the rest of the lineup. Choo has cemented himself in that leadoff position and been absolutely stellar setting the tone for the rest of the team. As long as Choo can keep his streak alive, this offense will seem to have a little extra juice at the plate. More importantly though, if Shin-Soo Choo can maintain any semblance of his form at the plate, the Rangers will have a tone-setter leading off every game.
Tuesday, 7:05 CT: Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 3.57 ERA) v. Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 4.22 ERA)
Wednesday, 6:05 CT: Mike Minor (6-4, 4.64 ERA) v. Lance McCullers (9-3, 3.55 ERA)
Tuesday: Navy Theme Night (Purchase tickets through this link to receive a limited edition Navy themed hat; Post-Game fireworks)
Wednesday: Air Force Theme Night (Purchase tickets through this link to receive a limited edition Air Force themed hat; Dr. Pepper Autograph Wednesday; Texas Chili Company Dollar Hot Dog Night; Post-Game fireworks)
Game 1: Rangers 6, Astros 4
Game 2: Astros 5, Rangers 2