Houston Astros: Silver Boot Preview

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Sep 26, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) runs past Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) after hitting a home run in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. Astros won 9 to 7. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) runs past Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) after hitting a home run in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. Astros won 9 to 7. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /
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Round One of Many Matchups Between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers Begins Tonight

Sep 26, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) runs past Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) after hitting a home run in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. Astros won 9 to 7. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) runs past Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus (1) after hitting a home run in the eighth inning at Minute Maid Park. Astros won 9 to 7. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

The Houston Astros won their first series of 2016 against the Detroit Tigers who came into town sporting the AL’s best team batting average. After taking two games out of three behind the solid pitching of Dallas Keuchel and the bullpen, and George Springer and Jose Altuve delivering at the plate, the Astros make the short trip north to Arlington to challenge the rival Texas Rangers.

The Astros received a Cy Young Award-caliber performance from Keuchel, who pitched eight scoreless innings and only allowed five hits in game one. Luke Gregerson converted both save opportunities of the series in three up-three down fashion. The bullpen only allowed one run the entire series, and Ken Giles looked like his old self, working two scoreless frames and striking out three. Offensively, Springer batted .500 for the series, belting two home runs and bursting out of his early season slump. Altuve and Tyler White also went deep for the Astros and are now tied for the club lead in home runs with four each.  Carlos Correa and Carlos Gomez were both given a day of rest from manager A.J. Hinch on Sunday.

The Rangers are coming off of a comeback win from Saturday night.  After splitting the first two games of a four-game set versus Baltimore, the Rangers six-run seventh inning put them over the .500 mark on the year at 7-6. The final game slotted for Sunday was rained out.  Texas scored 19 runs in three games against the Orioles and appear to be red-hot offensively entering this series with the Astros. The Rangers currently lead the American League in runs scored with 61 in 13 games.

The Rangers also lead the league in home runs allowed giving up 22 on the year already, and the Astros are close behind with 20 home runs allowed. The winner of this series may be the team whose pitching staff can keep the ball in play. Conversely, the Astros have hit 19 home runs, while the Rangers have only eight long balls on the year.

Next: Game 1 Prediction

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