Texas Rangers to host NL Centrals best, Milwaukee Brewers, in battle of first-place teams

The Rangers love playing at home and will host the Brewers for a three-game weekend series. Both teams are currently leading their division but have rivals breathing down their necks.

Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels v Texas Rangers / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

It is Friday, and the weekend is nearly upon us. The buzz of meaningful, late season baseball in Arlington, is alive and well. The Texas Rangers (72-49) will be playing host to the Milwaukee Brewers (65-57) for a three-game slate beginning tonight. The series will consist of two day games, both Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Texas Rangers schedule versus the Milwaukee Brewers

Date and Time

Probable Pitcher Rangers

Probable Pitcher Brewers

Fri 18th - 7:05 CT

Andrew Heaney LHP 9-6, 4.17 ERA, 119 SO

Brandon Woodruff RHP 2-1, 1.99 ERA, 26 SO

Sat 19th - 3:05 CT*

Dane Dunning RHP 9-4, 3.10 ERA, 97 SO

Freddy Peralta RHP 9-8, 4.08 ERA, 157 SO

Sun 20th - 1:35 CT

Max Scherzer RHP 12-4, 3.67 ERA, 147 SO

Adrian Houser RHP 4-4, 4.43 ERA, 68 SO

* Saturday's game will be broadcast on FS1, in addition to Bally Sports Southwest.

Milwaukee has scored the second-fewest runs in the National League, with 516. Within the NL, they have only outscored the Pittsburgh Pirates (505) to this point in the season. On the flip side, the Rangers high powered offense currently sits second in all of MLB in scoring, with 691 runs That total is second behind only the Atlanta Braves who have scored 702.

At the beginning of the season, it was predicted that the Brewers would be battling for the NL Central division against a perineal playoff contender, the St. Louis Cardinals. That hasn't been the case, as the Cardinals have had an unusually dreadful year. However, outside of a rough patch in May, the Brewers have played outstanding and continue to lead the division.

Much of their success can be attributed to their ability to win the close ball games. The Brewers are 24-11 (.686 winning %) in one-run games this season, despite dropping a 1 to 0 contest to the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday. A quick look at the Rangers' numbers in one-run games shows a much different story. Texas is 9-15 (.375 winning %) in such contests. That is still an improvement over last year's 15-35 (.300 winning %) record in one-run games.

Both the Rangers and the Brewers are in first place, but both clubs have division rivals knocking at the door. Of course, the Rangers are working to stay out in front of the Houston Astros who are currently 2.5 games behind Texas. Also, making a push in the standings is the Seattle Mariners. Seattle is six games behind the Rangers but boast a robust 28-13 record since July 1st. The Mariners will be playing in Houston over the weekend, so at least one of the teams will be losing each time they take the field. Texas still has the three highly publicized games remaining against Houston in the first part of next month, but also has seven games at the end of September with Seattle.

For the Brewers, their competition is coming from the Chicago Cubs and the upstart Cincinnati Reds. Both teams are only two games behind Milwaukee, and currently tied with the Miami Marlins for the third wild card spot in the National League.

Texas will face Brandon Woodruff tonight, in what will be his fifth start of the season and third start since coming back from shoulder inflammation that has kept him sidelined for most of the year. Woodruff was actually drafted by the Rangers in 2011 in the 5th round out of high school, but he opted to go to Mississippi State instead of turning pro. In 2014, after some struggles in college, he was selected by the Brewers in the 11th round. Despite his drop in the draft, he has turned into a great big-league pitcher, with two all-star appearances on his resume.

Because of his start yesterday, the Rangers will miss having to face Corbin Burns. The 2021 Cy Young winner and three-time all-star, Burns is having another fantastic season. Texas will send Andrew Heaney to the bump tonight to battle against Woodruff. They will then turn to two of their best starting pitching options in Dane Dunning for Saturday, and Max Scherzer to close out the series on Sunday afternoon.

The playoff races in both leagues are heating up. With 45 days left in the regular season, every game and every series is important. This one is no exception and with two first-place teams taking the field, it should prove to be a good one.