Astros Struggle Against Rangers: Why We Can’t Beat Them Right Now

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It is no secret that the Astros have struggled this season when playing the Texas Rangers. We’ve been able to sweep teams like the Royals and Angels, yet for some reason we just can’t get it right against our rivals from Dallas. These last two games have definitely amped up the frustration, as the Astros had many opportunities to win both games, and instead they find themselves 0-2 in the series.

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Overall, the Astros have a 4-7 record against Texas going into tonight’s contest. If you take a closer look at the seven losses, three out of those seven have been one-run losses, which is really tough to take. Last night’s game, the famous game where we brawled, and another one-run loss at Minute Maid Park when the Rangers swept the Astros back in early May.

All of the Astros’ four wins against Texas have been close, excluding Dallas Keuchel‘s demolition of Texas a few weeks ago on a Sunday afternoon. Keuchel definitely wanted to respond to Rougned Odor‘s antics on Saturday night and was as dominant during that start as any other outing I’ve seen from him.

Astros fan and SportsCenter anchor Robert Flores put it best on Monday night when describing the feeling of Astros fans during that game:

Honestly, this has been my feeling about the Astros-Rangers games all year. It sickens me that we cannot beat that team. Because they are very beatable, 4-7 vs. the Rangers is really unacceptable, and it must be changed.

Including tonight, the Astros will face the Rangers 8 more times before the season ends. Those seven games in September will not only be crucial for the Astros’ fate in the Silver Boot series but also (and more importantly) for their postseason chances. Any game against a divisional opponent is important, but those seven in September will be just so huge for this team and their playoff hopes.

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Taking a peak at the team statistics, the Rangers and Astros are not very different in the hitting categories. Both teams are in the MLB’s top 10 in most of the major ones, and both are near the bottom of the pecking order when it comes to batting average. This is why a lot of the games between these two teams have been shootouts rather than pitching duels.

However, when you look at team pitching stats, the Astros have a clear cut advantage. I have always weighed pitching over hitting, which is why the Astros’ 4-7 record vs. Texas surprises me. Astros pitchers have a .240 BAA (batting average against) while the Rangers have a .266 BAA (really high!). Also, Rangers pitchers have walked 345 opposing hitters this year while the Astros have only given 282 free passes to first base. The ERA numbers are very different (in favor of the Astros) as well.

This is where Scott Kazmir needs to come in tonight and help his new team. Kazmir owns the Rangers this year, with a 2-0 record and 1.29 ERA. Rangers hitters have not been able to hit him, and that should not change now that he is in a new uniform.

As of right now, I really hope the Astros do not face the Rangers in the playoffs because we cannot beat them. Hopefully, that trend will change in the next few months with the addition of George Springer and Carlos Gomez, and the ascent of Carlos Correa. With Kazmir and Keuchel on the mound, I am always confident, but the back end of this rotation has not been able to solve that team from Dallas.

Astros fans, let’s hope for a win tonight to avoid the sweep, and then win those seven games against the Rangers in September. The Silver Boot will be ours, I hope.

Next: Houston Astros: Positives from Loss to Rangers on Monday Night

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