Rangers vs Astros Preview and Prediction
Rangers vs Astros Preview
The best rivalry in the AL West continues.
The Houston Astros are officially one-quarter through the 2018 season and the early signs point to an elite pitching staff and an offense that is not performing up to their standards.
The Astros (24-16) entered their three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park averaging just 3.8 runs at home compared with 5.9 runs on the road. Their slash line at home: .227/.296/.356 with a .652 OPS entering their 20th game at Minute Maid Park. Through 20 games on the road, the Astros are slashing .289/.367/.464 with a robust .832 OPS.
The Astros suffered a 1-0 loss in the series opener Friday. Astros Manager A.J. Hinch isn’t concerned…
“We’re a quarter of the way through the season so I don’t think we can draw too many conclusions on much of anything,” Hinch said. “I don’t think that we’re going to struggle at home in general. I think we’ll be just fine.
“I think we’re a good offensive team regardless. I don’t want to look too hard or too far into any of that. I think we’re a really good offense. I think we can score from any point of the lineup. I think we’re dynamic, I think we’re pretty athletic. We can run, we can hit the ball out of the ballpark, we can put the ball in play, I can start runners whenever I want. Just give me a ballpark to put this team on and I’ll take my chances.”
Astros: Right-hander Charlie Morton (4-0, 2.16 ERA) will start Saturday’s middle game of the series for the Astros. He is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA in four career starts against Texas, including a no-decision on April 14 when he allowed two runs, six hits and one walk with 12 strikeouts in six innings of a 6-5 home loss. Morton had eight strikeouts in his lone home start against Texas last season.
Rangers: Right-hander Doug Fister (1-3, 4.02) gets the start for the Rangers. Fister is 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in his four career starts against the Astros, for whom he pitched during the 2016 season. He is 3-7 with a 4.56 ERA in 17 career starts at Minute Maid Park. Fister won his Rangers debut against Houston, surrendering one run, four hits and three walks with three strikeouts in five innings of a 5-1 victory on March 30 at Globe Life Park.
Astros: Alex Bregman only has four at-bats against Fister, but he has three hits with one home run and three RBIs against his former teammate. He picks the ball up very well coming out of Fister’s hand.
Rangers: Adrian Beltre is usually one of the first players an opposing team game plan’s against, but it is his numbers against Morton that are frightening for the Astros. Beltre is hitting .667 against Morton with one home run and two RBIs. A limited sample size, but Beltre can tee up Morton at anytime and if Houston’s bats are quiet again, it only takes one swing.
The Houston bats heat up against their former teammate and the Astros even up the series before some Mother’s Day baseball action on Sunday.
Astros 8 Rangers 4