Astros versus the Rangers, this is no big deal, just win
By Eric Huysman
The Houston Astros open a four-game series today versus the Texas Rangers.
Ironically, this is the first time the Houston Astros have faced the Rangers this year. Some will say that Houston is 16-9 only because they haven’t faced the Rangers yet. The same people would say that the Rangers are 11-14 only because they haven’t played the Astros.
Either way, it’s a slap in the face to the Astros. Yes, we all experienced the 2015-16 seasons versus the Rangers. As Richard Justice pointed out last night, the Rangers have had a 28-10 record versus Houston the past two seasons. Conversely, Justice points out that the Astros have had a 69-45 record versus the rest of the AL West.
So what? It’s no big deal! Didn’t mean to quote Pink and Katy Perry in the same sequence, but oh well. Let’s put the past in the past. That is so 2016. This Houston squad is better ready to beat the Rangers this year. On last night’s Talking Stros on Sports Talk 790, Rudy asked me what the Astros have to do better versus the Rangers.
Honestly, they have already done what was needed to beat the Rangers. They have grown up! Not only are the young Astros a year older and wiser, Jeff Luhnow added veteran players aplenty. They claimed Nori Aoki from division rival Mariners and traded for Brian McCann. They snagged Josh Reddick and Carlos Beltran from the free agent market. Can’t forget to mention last year’s move of bringing Yulieski Gurriel for the next four years.
Papa’s got a brand-new bag.
As A.J. Hinch said at a managers town hall meeting this offseason, the new guys did not experience the Ranger woes. Heck, Beltran was on the other side of the line last year. To them, it is just another divisional opponent, and hopefully, that’s the way it stays.
The Astros have won 16 games out of 25 total games this season. Of those 16 wins, 12 have come from AL West opponents compared to only four losses. The only two series the Astros have lost were versus the Indians and the Royals. The Rangers conversely have a 6-9 record versus the AL West.
The Rangers also have their top two pitchers going in the series in Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish. Houston hitters have had some history or success versus those two at times and have been dominated others. Andrew Cashner will start tonight’s game, opposite of Lance McCullers.
Next: The AL West Has Been Kind To The Astros
I’m not going to go back and look at the past ineptitude versus the Rangers. This is an opportunity for a clean slate. Earlier in the offseason, Hinch says that he has a brand new team for the Arlington boys. Justice says that Hinch also told the Rangers to “Bring It!” The road to the playoffs goes through Texas, all aboard!
Stats from Baseball-Reference***