The Texas Rangers have announced their starting pitchers for the three game series against Houston that will take place this weekend in Arlington.
A.J. Griffin will start Friday's game for the Rangers, with Derek Holland on Saturday and Yu Darvish slated to go on Sunday. The Astros have Doug Fister, Dallas Keuchel and Joe Musgrove as their probables.
There had been discussion about Colby Lewis, currently on the disabled list, being activated to face Houston this weekend, although with that schedule it appears likely that Lewis, who wasn't great in his rehab start Tuesday, will get one more outing in the minors before being activated.
Similarly, it was possible that the Rangers could skip Griffin's start, and have Holland pitch on Friday, with Darvish on Saturday and Cole Hamels on Sunday -- an alignment which would have the Rangers' two aces face off against the second place team in the West. The fact that this isn't happening would seem to suggest that the Rangers think additional rest would be more beneficial, or that they don't think the Astros -- currently 8.5 games back in the division -- are a credible enough threat to warrant juggling the rotation.
Texas is currently up 8.5 games on Houston and 11.5 games on Seattle, and are in a position to effectively end the division race this weekend with a sweep, which would give the Rangers an 11.5 game lead in the division. Worst case scenario -- a sweep by Houston -- would still have the Rangers up 5.5 games, which is a comfortable lead at this stage of the season, particularly given the remaining schedule.