An interstate rival has long been a thorn in the Astros side long before joining the American League.
Before the Astros joined the AL way back in 2013, it always seems that the Texas Rangers had their number in the preceding years. While at the time it was a mere annoyance, the problem has become even more complicated in the present. The two Texas teams are now division rivals. And the issues haven’t gone away.
See the 2015 and 2016 Astros. Both teams couldn’t overcome the Rangers. That failure has likely prevented the Houston from claiming two division titles.
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Those failures are in the past, however. And as we look forward to the 2017 season, it is time for the Stros to conquer the Rangers finally. In a way, you can say that the path to AL West supremacy goes through Arlington.
As with all sports, baseball included, it is important to perform well within your own division. And outside of Texas, Houston have played the AL West relatively well the past two seasons.
2015: 32-25 vs. OAK, LAA, SEA; 6-13 vs. TEX
2016: 37-20 vs. OAK, LAA, SEA; 4-15 vs. TEX
Playing Texas has been the elephant in the room. And it necessarily doesn’t come from the Astros possessing an inferior roster. Outside of a strong 1-2 in the starting rotation, this Houston club today measures up well with Texas. At certain positions, the Astros are better than the Rangers. Of course, that goes the way around at other key spots.
Houston’s records the past two seasons have seen the team either make the playoffs or compete to the end of the season. Just imagine if three to five games in this pivotal division rival art went the other way? The local nine would be in good shape.
It seems though that playing the Rangers is like facing one of the all-time great teams in Houston. In other words, Texas has gotten into their head. But to move forward in a run of continued success and contention, the Stros have to conquer their current arch nemesis that resides in Arlington.
**Record information courtesy of Baseball Reference**