The Lone Star Rivalry adds another chapter to its history as a pair of AL West rivals kick off the second half of the season on the diamond. The Houston Astros are on the road as they open up a four-game series with the Texas Rangers Thursday night. Houston took two of three at home from the Angels over the weekend, prevailing 11-10 in 10 innings in the rubber game Sunday afternoon. Texas avoided a three-game sweep on the road in Minnesota as they claimed a 4-1, 11-inning, win Sunday. The Astros hold a 6-4 edge in the season series and swept a four-game home set in the last series between the teams May 9-12.
Houston Astros Looking to Extend AL West Edge
Houston won for the ninth time in 12 games after snapping a seven-game slide as they managed to earn a walk-off win over the Angels Sunday. The Astros enter this contest with a comfortable 7.5-game advantage over the A’s in the AL West race. Houston got four hits from Michael Brantley (three runs) while George Springer (RBI), Yordan Alvarez (three RBI) and Tyler White (run, RBI) each added three in the victory. Jose Urquidi didn’t factor in the decision on the mound as he was chased after 2.1 innings: he allowed five runs on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Ryan Pressly (2-1) threw a scoreless 10th, allowing a hit and striking out two, to pick up the win.
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 7, 2019
Framber Valdez is in line to get the ball for his 19th appearance and fifth start of the season for the Astros in this contest. He is 3-4 with a 4.57 ERA, a 1.368 WHIP, 19 walks and 41 strikeouts over 45.1 innings of work on the year. Valdez took the loss in his last start, which came June 26 at home against the Pirates. He threw three innings, allowing six runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts strikeouts in a 14-2 Astros defeat. Valdez is 1-2 with a 9.49 ERA, a 1.78 WHIP, six walks and 13 strikeouts in 12.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his fourth career appearance and first start against the Rangers in this contest: he is 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA, a 1.875 WHIP, five walks and eight strikeouts over 5.1 innings of work. Valdez is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA, a 1.846 WHIP, four walks and six strikeouts over 4.1 innings of work in two relief appearances at Globe Life Park in his career.
Texas Rangers Trying to Regroup
Texas stumbled into the All-Star break, dropping six of seven before beating Minnesota in the series finale Sunday. The Rangers enter this game third in the AL West, nine games behind Houston: they were three games behind the Indians for the second wild card spot. Texas got four hits from Danny Santana (RBI) while Joey Gallo (two runs) and Shin-soo Choo each had two. Rougned Odor had the big blast with a three-run homer, his 13th, in the 11th inning to break a 1-1 tie. Jose Leclerc served as the opener and gave up a run on three hits with one walk and one strikeout over 1.2 innings. Shaun Kelley (4-2) tossed two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with no walks and two strikeouts, to earn the win.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) July 7, 2019
Lance Lynn takes the mound for his 19th start of the season for the Rangers in this contest. He comes in 11-4 with a 3.91 ERA, a 1.217 WHIP, 26 walks and 123 strikeouts over 115 innings of work. Lynn ran his record to 7-1 in his last 10 starts as he picked up the win over the Angels in his last outing July 4. He threw seven innings, allowing two runs on nine hits with no walks and five strikeouts in a 9-3 Texas victory. Lynn is 3-0 with a 2.86 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP, two walks and 21 strikeouts over 22 innings in his last three starts. He is 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA, a 1.156 WHIP, 18 walks and 49 strikeouts over 45 innings in eight career appearances, seven starts, against the Astros. Lynn is 7-0 with a 4.37 ERA, a 1.283 WHIP, 11 walks and 56 strikeouts over 57.2 innings in nine career starts at Globe Life Park.
- Astros are 3-8 in their last 11 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600
- Astros are 3-9 in their last 12 Thursday games
- Astros are 1-4 in their last 5 when their opponent allows 2 runs or less in their previous game
- Rangers are 6-1 in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- Rangers are 4-1 in their last 5 Thursday games