Houston head to Arlington on the back of a three-game skid at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. Their last loss was a 3-2 defeat on Sunday night that saw Blake Snell control the Astros lineup all evening. They managed just four hits in 7.1 innings against the Rays star, with their only runs coming on solo homers by Evan Gattis, one against Snell and one against Sergio Romo in the top of the ninth.
The Rangers also had Monday off and come into this game on the back of a loss, however they still won the series against the White Sox 2-1. Sunday saw them lose 10-5 as the White Sox battered Cole Hamels to the tune of seven earned runs on nine hits in five innings. The Rangers bats just couldn’t keep up with the pace of Chicago’s scoring, and despite strong days from Rougned Odor and Ryan Rua they just couldn’t claw their way back into the game.
Dallas Keuchel (LHP) Vs. Austin Bibens-Dirkx (RHP)
The 2015 Cy Young winner has struggled in 2018. In hi 17 starts he is carrying a 4.22 ERA and a horrible 1.34 WHIP. On his day Keuchel is still capable of crushing a lineup, but he also sprinkles in truly awful starts. He allowed seven earned runs against Seattle to start June, and then six to Toronto to finish it. Before that Blue Jays game though he had gone 12 straight scoreless innings against the Royals.
Bibens-Dirkx has shown real improvement in his second season in the Majors. He has a 3.57 ERA in his four starts this year, and has lowered his home run rate while improving his strikeout rate over last years. He comes into today’s start off the back of a five-inning, scoreless start against the Padres in which he struck out six and allowed six men to get on base. That’s not a bad job, but there is a big difference between the Padres lineup and this Astros one.
|Astros Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
|Rangers Lineup||Home Runs||Batting Average||On-Base Percentage|
Who’s hot, and who’s not
Houston come into this series with two infielders that are on fire at the plate. Jose Altuve is hitting .349 over the last two weeks with two homers and two steals, but he is being out done by third baseman Alex Bregman, who has a .327 average and six homers in the same time span.
george Springer is on the other end of the spectrum though. The young outfielder has struggled of late, with just three hits in the last two weeks, an .068 average.
The Rangers come in leaning heavily on their outfield. Nomar Mazara and Shin-Soo Choo are the starts of this lineup at the moment, with Mazara hitting .380 with a homer and 10 RBI in the last two weeks, while Choo has a .333 average with three homers. Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor have the same average and homers as Choo, albeit in fewer at-bats.
Unfortunately, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre are falling short of expectations at the plate right now, while Joey Gallo continues to be a three true outcomes hitter.
The pitching matchup is something of a wash with Dallas Keuchel in the form he is this year. You’d back Houston just because they are the superior team, ahead of Texas in the standings by 16.5 games, but the Astros are 8-9 in the games Keuchel has started this year. I’ll take Houston’s hot bats by two, but don’t be surprised if the Rangers get after Keuchel and pour it on against the former Cy Young.
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