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Reply To: MLB Previews, Articles, Info. Friday 9/25/15

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Preview: Rangers at Astros

Current Conditions – Houston
Wind: SSW 7
5-Day Forecast GAME: Texas Rangers (83-69) at Houston Astros (80-73)
DATE/TIME: Friday, September 25 – 8:10 PM EST
WHERE: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

If the Houston Astros have any shot at overcoming the Texas Rangers and jumping back into first place in the American League West, then a strong performance this weekend is necessary. The Astros host the Rangers in the opener of a three-game series on Friday and sit 3 1/2 games back in the division.

Houston was in first place in the West until a disastrous series at Texas from Sep. 14-17, in which the Astros were outscored 33-13 and dropped all four games. Houston still leads the race for the second AL wild card by 1 1/2 games but squandered an opportunity to put some distance between itself and the field by dropping two of three to the Los Angeles Angels this week, falling to 3-3 on the nine-game homestand. Texas suffered a bit of a letdown with a series loss to the Seattle Mariners after taking the four from Houston but bounced back with a three-game sweep at Oakland by a combined 26-10 and has won nine of its last 11 overall to pull away in the division. The Astros will send their best pitchers to the mound in the series, starting with Scott Kazmir going up against Rangers righty Yovani Gallardo on Friday.

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, ESPN2, FSN Southwest (Texas), ROOT (Houston)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Yovani Gallardo (12-11, 3.41 ERA) vs. Astros LH Scott Kazmir (7-10, 2.73)

Gallardo is trying to bounce back from consecutive losses and surrendered eight runs and 15 hits over 9 1/3 innings in those outings. The Mexico native had won his previous five decisions but has not recorded an out in the seventh inning since going 8 1/3 at Toronto on June 27. Gallardo was slammed for five runs and seven hits in four innings in his last start at Houston on July 19.

Kazmir finally got some run support in his last start but couldn’t stick around long enough to enjoy it while allowing three runs on five hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings against Oakland. The Houston native started the series opener at Texas on Sep. 14 and yielded three runs – two earned – on five hits in seven innings but did not factor in the decision in a game the Astros went on to lose 5-3. Kazmir is 2-1 with a 1.60 ERA in five starts against the Rangers this season.


1. Astros CF Carlos Gomez (strained intercostal) is unlikely to be available over the weekend.

2. Texas owns a 12-4 record in the season series.

3. Houston 2B Jose Altuve is 6-for-13 with three doubles, a triple and four runs scored in the last three games.

PREDICTION: Rangers 4, Astros 2