Houston Astros: A Guide to Beating the Texas Rangers

May 22, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) tosses his bat after striking out during the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
May 22, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) tosses his bat after striking out during the eighth inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

How the Houston Astros Can Stop Being Bullied by the Rangers

The Texas Rangers have bullied the Houston Astros long enough, and now it is time that the Astros learn how to defend themselves against their division rival. This is not 2015, the Seattle Mariners and the Rangers are battling for the top spot with the Astros creeping up after going 11-2 since George Springer moved to leadoff.

The Astros finally reached a stretch where they were not playing the best teams in baseball, so the should have had this success if they are the team that we thought they were at the beginning of the series. The Astros have fought hard to win these 11 out of 12 games, so hopefully the momentum that has been gained will not be lost against the Rangers. Bullies tend to make their victims lose confidence.

To help get the Astros back on track, let’s look at how to handle bullies from Kids Health.

  1. Ignore the bully. If you can, try your best to ignore the bully’s threats.
  2. Stand up for yourself. Pretend to feel really brave and confident.
  3. Don’t bully back.
  4. Don’t show your feelings.
  5. Tell an adult.

Unfortunately after going 0-6 versus the Rangers so far this year, the Astros have to face them 13 more times this season, so they can’t ignore the bully. Colby Lewis likes to make the Astros hitters look like little leaguers, which just ain’t right. The Astros have given up 29 runs thus far in the series, while scoring only 14 runs. The Astros have been bullied by teams with winning records all season with a 13-20 record.

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The Astros need to find a way to ignore the bullies threats, hence, don’t let them score more runs than you. The biggest thing the Astros need to watch out against is getting in an early hole, they have a 5.95 ERA for the season in the first three innings of games. You can’t let the other team constantly punch you in the gut early and expect the offense to have enough time to retaliate.

The Astros really seem like they are overmatched when the play the team from North Texas, the Astros need to pretend that we are confident against them and stand up for ourselves. The Rangers are in Astros player’s heads following their dominance last year that has bled into this season. The Astros need to play how they have done over the past 13 games, don’t let the Rangers try to control the pace of the game.

We all know what type of player Rougned Odor is, we are aware that he has gotten into a few altercations with players from Hank Conger and Jose Bautista. While I don’t think the Astros should try to knock Odor out if he has a hard slide into Carlos Correa or Jose Altuve at second base, but they need just to keep him off the bases. In fact, keep all Rangers off the bases. The pitchers need to build up quality starts while the bullpen needs to continue to be airtight.

Don’t let the Rangers see your fear, because they will pounce. The starters need to keep the team in the game, the bullpen needs to hold the leads, and the hitters need to outscore the Rangers. You can’t give up homers like the Astros have done this season with 4.94 ERA against the Rangers hitters. Control the hitters, then win the series.

The Rangers will trot out their top three pitchers in the first three games, Colby Lewis, Cole Hamels, and Yu Darvish. The Astros hitters need to show no fear at the plate and control their swings. Just pretend that the pitcher is in his underwear and laugh at him, no fear.

You can tell an adult that the Rangers are beating up on the Astros, but they will say just go out and play better baseball. The Astros rotation is just about as talented, if not more talented, than the Rangers’ rotation that has held the Astros hitters to a .187 batting average. The Astros team batting average has risen recently .250, so the .187 batting average speaks to the troubles of the Astros hitters.

We talked Astros vs. Rangers on last night’s Talking Stros.

The Astros need to wake up Monday and tell themselves a harmless lie; this whole series is their’s, then maybe it will happen. At least split the four games, but we would still have nine more games against them, so let’s learn how to deal with the bullies now. It would mean so much for the team morale to get this monkey off their back and beat the Rangers and gain ground in the standings.

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Here are what some readers thought.

@StrosWS2016: The key is getting out of the first inning unscathed. It seems like it’s 3-0 Rangers every game after the first, or worse.

@SeatPoacher: The key is to keep having quality ABs and look for the big inning. No more of that 2-1 business!

@LarryManch: Leave Luke Gregerson and Carlos Gomez in Houston.

@EZfreezie: Solid starting pitching and consistency. Keeping their runs to a minimum in all stages of the game.

@TSlanted: Small ball, quality starts, and figure out how to ruin their bullpen by the third game, and don’t let Adrian Beltre beat you.

@AstrosOptimism: Bullpen stays strong and bats stay hot.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

***Team Stats from ESPN Team Stats***