Series Preview: Texas Rangers @ Houston Astros - Atomic Number 47

Being an Astro 101 - USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers have beaten the Astros seven times in 2013. To secure the Silver Boot's hallowed return to Arlington, the Rangers will need to take three of four from Houston

Series Schedule:

Friday, August 09 7:10: LHP Erik Bedard vs. RHP Matt Garza

Saturday, August 10 6:10: RHP Brad Peacock vs. LHP Derek Holland

Sunday, August 11 1:10: LHP Dallas Keuchel vs. LHP Martin Perez

Monday, August 12 1:10: LHP Brett Oberholtzer vs. RHP Yu Darvish

Poor Houston Astros. They haven't won a Silver Boot since 2006. The Lone Star Series has gone decidedly the Rangers' way since it began in 2001. And while the Astros have watched the Rangers enjoy their greatest run of success as a franchise since the late '90s, the Astros are flailing away toward their third straight season of having the worst record in baseball.

Texas has won 49 of 81 against Houston since Tom Hicks bargained away the Rangers' chances of moving to the American League Central for the opportunity to play the Astros each year. At a winning clip of .605, historically, against the Astros, the Rangers have played like the 2013 Atlanta Braves while the Astros have played the Rangers like, well, basically the 2013 Houston Astros.

Unfortunately, since the Astros have moved to the American League West, their awfulness is enjoyed by everyone in the division rather than just the Rangers. So while the Rangers used to enjoy free wins, everyone gets a turn now. It's perhaps no coincidence then that the division is currently ordered the same way as each team's current record against Houston. (OAK: 11-1, TEX: 7-2, SEA: 7-5, ANA: 6-7)

But to make matters worse for the pauperized 'stros, if you can look past the general atrocities in Houston, and just boil it down to this weekend, they will be facing a composition of what would be the Rangers' postseason rotation, should Texas make it to October. The Astros get Matt Garza, Derek Holland, Martin Perez and Yu Darvish this weekend.

Maybe someday it'll look better for the Astros. They'll certainly begin to benefit from having the first pick in the draft over several years in a row at some point in time. But for now, the Rangers might as well hold a boot fitting in the clubhouse.

Here's a breakdown of the pitching match-ups against the future home of Carlos Rodon:

  • Matt Garza: 7-2, 7.52 K/9, 2.31 BB/9, .259 BABIP, 75.5% LOB, 3.67 FIP, 3.82 xFIP, 1.5 WAR - Last three starts: 7 runs allowed in 22.1 innings
  • Erik Bedard: 3-8, 8.34 K/9, 4.46 BB/9, .297 BABIP, 73.4% LOB, 4.43 FIP, 4.56 xFIP, 1.0 WAR - Last three appearances: 5 runs allowed in 17.1 innings

Advantage: These match-ups as presented by images of Adrian Beltre:

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  • Derek Holland: 9-6, 8.42 K/9, 2.55 BB/9, .314 BABIP, 76.3% LOB, 2.97 FIP, 3.46 xFIP, 4.5 WAR - Last three starts: 6 runs allowed in 21.1 innings
  • Brad Peacock: 1-4, 8.25 K/9, 4.75 BB/9, .277 BABIP, 66.7% LOB, 6.58 FIP, 5.00 xFIP, -0.6 WAR - Last three appearances: 6 runs allowed in 11.2 innings

Advantage:

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  • Martin Perez: 4-3, 5.95 K/9, 2.90 BB/9, .292 BABIP, 72.4% LOB, 4.29 FIP, 3.98 xFIP, 0.7 WAR - Last three starts: 9 runs allowed in 16.2 innings
  • Dallas Keuchel: 5-6, 6.84 K/9, 2.99 BB/9, .330 BABIP, 71.3% LOB, 4.68 FIP, 3.72 xFIP, 0.2 WAR - Last three appearances: 11 runs allowed in 9.2 innings

Advantage:

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  • Yu Darvish: 11-5, 11.86 K/9, 3.09 BB/9, .262 BABIP, 84.3% LOB, 3.17 FIP, 2.73 xFIP, 3.7 WAR - Last three starts: 4 runs allowed in 20.0 innings
  • Brett Oberholtzer: 2-0, 5.06 K/9, 0.84 BB/9, .235 BABIP, 82.4% LOB, 3.56 FIP, 4.68 xFIP, 0.4 WAR - Last three appearances: 1 run allowed in 17.1 innings

Advantage:

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(Though, it's worth noting that Brett Oberholtzer hasn't allowed a run in two career starts spanning 14 innings against the likes of Baltimore and Boston. Maybe you should take care of that, Beltre.)

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Houston Astros (37-76, Last Place in The Universe)

Rangers' Record vs. Houston: 7-2 (5-1 at Minute Maid)

Houston's Recent Results: 1-2 home series loss against the Boston Red Sox

Houston's 2013 Home Record: 19-39

Minute Maid Park Park Factors (LHB/RHB): HR: 109/114 - Runs: 102/102

SB Nation Astros' Blog: The Crawfish Boxes

Match-up: (as of 08/09) Rangers Astros Advantage
Batting (RAR) -13.5 (13th) -69.7 (27th) Welcome back, Big Bear
Base Running (RAR) -7.9 (26th) -3.2 (17th) /throws confetti
Starters (RAR) 92.6 9.0 I'm sort of surprised the Astros are in the black
Bullpen (RAR) 45.4 (2nd) -44.0 (30th) And we thought the Angel bullpen was bad
Defense (UZR) 13.5 (10th) -43.7 (29th) Marwin Gonzalez: Bad Defender, Worse Person
Overall (UZR + RAR) 130.1 -151.6

Huehuehue

Questions to Answer:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10: How excited are you that it seems likely that the Rangers will win the treasured Silver Boot once again in 2013? (No lying, please.)
  • Who is your Return of the McLemore Approved Player to Watch in this series? (The Astros wouldn't like Matt Garza when he's angry.)
  • Over/Under: 7.5 stolen bases by the Texas Rangers in this series?
  • What's your guess for line (IP/H/K/BB/ER) by Yu Darvish in his second start at Minute Maid since his near Perfect Game back on April 2?
  • Yea or Nay: The Rangers waste no time, win the series, and take home the Silver Boot?
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