The Houston Astros (24-15) will take on the Texas Rangers (17-19) in an American League West showdown on Saturday. First-place Houston enters on a three-game winning streak, while third-place Texas has dropped two straight.
The Astros have won their two previous series, against the Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City Royals, and could make it three straight series wins with a victory on Saturday. The first two games of this four-game series against the Rangers he avbeen in favor of the Astros. Wade Miley earned the win in the opener on Thursday, then Justin Verlander dominated on Friday in a 3-0 Houston victory.
Gerrit Cole will be on the mound for Houston on Saturday against Rangers starter Jesse Chavez. Cole enters with a 3-4 record and a 4.17 ERA after a slow start to the season. Chavez is 0-1 on the year with a 7.27 ERA. Both pitchers in this matchup have struggled so far this season, so whichever offense can rattle the opposing pitcher first might go home with the victory.
The Rangers offense was only able to record one hit against Verlander in Friday’s loss. It has been a very up-and-down season for Texas. The Rangers have gone through hot winning streaks and then losing streaks of three, four and five games.
Rangers Try To Continue Dominance
The Rangers have already played the Astros in two series this season. They won the series 2-1 in early April, then won their next series against Houston 2-1 in late April. Texas would have to win its last two games of this current series to avoid losing its first series against Houston this year.
One bat the Rangers need to fear the most is the left-handed hitter Michael Brantley. Brantley leads Houston with a .338 batting average and 49 hits. George Springer leads the team with 13 home runs and 33 RBI, while Alex Bregman leads the team with a .390 OBP.
We haven’t even mentioned the production of Jose Altuve, who is batting a rather low .243 batting average for his standards. Carlos Correa also poses a huge threat in the lineup since returning from injury earlier on in the year.
Cole Looking To Rebound
Cole has pitched against the Rangers twice this season and has lost both outings for the Astros. The biggest question for Texas surrounds the veteran Chavez and whether or not he can pick up his first win of the season. The bats also need to be there for Texas in Game 3 if they want any shot to win.
Elvis Andrus leads the Rangers in batting average at .326. Andrus also leads his ballclub in hits with 47. The Rangers’ most powerful bat in the lineup is Joey Gallo, who leads this team in home runs (12), RBI (28), and OBP (.410). Gallo does lead the team with 30 walks, but also leads the Rangers with 49 strikeouts. The strikeout rate of Cole doesn’t bode well for Gallo in this matchup, despite the righty versus lefty matchup.