Not many people would find the positives in facing the reigning champs to open a new season. Coming off a runaway AL West championship and World Series win over the Dodgers in 2017, the Astros could be even better this season, with another year of developmental time for their budding stars and the addition of All-Star starting pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pirates. This Astros club is one full of young, homegrown talent that has more upside than they know what to do with.
On April 6, the Astros will honor Jose Altuve for his MVP award, Geroge Springer for his World Series MVP award and Justin Verlander for being named the American League Championship Series MVP. He made four starts against Texas in 2017 and put together a 3-1 record against the Rangers with a 2.92 ERA and 29 strikeouts.
The Texas Rangers have found themselves in a very different set of circumstances.
Yes, the #Astros are using a 4-man outfield against Joey Gallo.
In the first inning, Stanton drove an 0-1 fastball from J.A. Happ (0-1) over the right-center-field wall for a two-run shot. The Rangers encourage fans to arrive early on Thursday.
The quickest way to see how the Rangers will match up against the rest of baseball is to be proverbially "thrown into the fire" and that's what they face. In fact, with a four game series, Texas will get to see how their new pitching staff can fair. If these pitchers can battle against such a potent team, it could point to an ability to at least keep this season interesting.
"Just the two names on the back of the jersey would make you want to show up for this matchup", Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. The Rangers are still working to determine their closer, with Alex Claudio, Keone Kela and Jake Diekman in consideration. "Don't care who gets credit, it's an all-in Texas mentality".
Saturday; vs. Hou.; 3:05; FSSW; Matt Moore (6-15); Lance McCullers Jr. Texas went to the World Series in 2010 and 2011.
There's a chance that this series could get ugly quickly.
For the third consecutive season, the Texas Lottery will be the Presenting Partner for the Battle of the Silver Boot between Texas' two Major League teams.