Astros vs Rangers Preview and Prediction
Astros vs Rangers Preview
The defending world champion Houston Astros begin their title defense against their bitter division-rival on Opening Day in Arlington, Texas on Thursday.
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (2017: 15-8, 3.36 ERA)
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels (2017: 11-6, 4.20)
Both teams will throw out their aces on Opening Day, but the Astros have a decided advantage in this matchup. Hamels owns a 7-4 record and 4.19 ERA in 16 career starts versus the Astros. Verlander was sensational after being acquired from Detroit on Aug. 31, going 5-0 with a 1.06 ERA in five regular-season starts before posting a 4-1 record with one complete game and a 2.21 ERA in six postseason appearances (five starts). The 35-year-old former AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner is excited to be making his 10th Opening Day start in 11 years, telling the team’s website, “It’s something you always cherish. … Everybody is so high on expectations and so excited about the upcoming season, the unknown, what’s going to happen with their team. It’s a unique atmosphere.” Verlander is 11-6 with a 3.02 ERA and one complete game in 20 career turns against Texas.
1- George Springer-OF
2- Alex Bregman-3B
3- Jose Altuve-2B
4- Carlos Correa-SS
5- Josh Reddick-OF
6- Marwin Gonzalez-1B
7- Brian McCann-C
8- Evan Gattis- DH
9- Derek Fisher-OF
1- Delino Deshields-OF
2- Joey Gallo-1B
3- Elvis Andrus-SS
4- Adrian Beltre-3B
5- Nomar Mazara-OF
6- Shin-Soo Choo-DH
7- Rougned Odor-2B
8- Robinson Chirinos-C
9- Ryan Rua-OF
The Astros will be without Yuli Gurriel to start the season due to surgery on his hand plus an additional five games when he is healthy due to a suspension from last year’s World Series.
The Astros have the better lineup top-to-bottom and will only start two left-handed hitters against Cole Hamels on Opening Day.
For the Rangers, they are starting Ryan Rua in LF, but it won’t be long until some of their elite prospects take hold of that position.
Opening Day is one of the most difficult days to predict the outcome of games. Teams are throwing out their best arms, batters are ready to start cracking after a long Spring Training and the coaches are eager to put their players in the best position to win.
Historically, the Astros have struggled to win in Arlington but this team is too talented to lose when Verlander is on the bump.
Astros 7 Rangers 2
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