The Rangers have rearranged their rotation, according to John Blake on Twitter, taking advantage of yesterday's off day to have Cole Hamels start against Oakland on Thursday on regular rest.
Yovani Gallardo will now start on Friday against Houston, followed by Derek Holland and Martin Perez.
While Hamels will now not face the Astros this coming weekend, this move does line him up to start again on Tuesday, which would allow the Rangers to start him in the season finale, should it be a must-win game. Alternatively, if the Rangers have already locked themselves into a Wild Card spot and can't win the division, it allows them to potentially skip Hamels so he can start the Wild Card game on Tuesday. If Hamels starts the season finale and a game 163 is needed on Monday, Gallardo would presumably start that game. Barring a Game 163, either Gallardo or Holland could start a Wild Card game if Hamels pitches that Sunday.
Should Texas clinch the division prior to Sunday, it will be interesting to see if Hamels goes a couple of innings in anticipation of starting in the ALDS Game 1 on Thursday with three days rest, or simply sits out until the ALDS.
This move is surprising, given that Jeff Banister said over the weekend the rotation would stay in place as it was, which would have had Hamels starting on Friday in Houston. Banister apparently changed his mind (or had his mind changed for him).