Matchup: Yu Darvish vs. Jordan Lyles
Darvish (7-4, 3.72): The 25-year-old leads the Rangers in strikeouts with 77. ... His seven wins are second most on the Rangers pitching staff and he has allowed the fewest hits of any active Rangers starter (66) through 72.2 innings pitched. ... He also leads the Rangers in walks with 44. ... He has seen his production slide in recent starts as he is on a two-game losing streak, posting a 6.17 ERA through 11.2 innings in June. ... His ERA has steadily increased each month by about two runs (2.18 in April, 4.50 in May, 6.17 in June). ... He is 5-0 at home with a 3.38 ERA through 32 innings. ... He has never faced the Astros.
Lyles (1-2, 5.40): The 21-year-old has only started six games this year, allowing 37 hits and 14 walks through 33.1 innings. ... He has had his lowest ERA in road games, posting a 5.06 ERA through four starts and 21.1 innings compared to a 6.00 ERA at home. ... He pitched 4.1 innings in his last start against the White Sox, allowing seven hits, five runs and three walks with no strikeouts. ... His first loss came in his start against the Rangers in May, when he posted a 5.29 ERA, allowing nine hits (one home run) and three walks. ... He has never beaten the Rangers, getting credit for two losses in three starts (Astros lost all three starts).
Hitters: Darvish has never faced an Astros hitter. ... Ranger hitters are 19-for-63 against Lyles, including four home runs. ... Josh Hamilton is 4-for-7 with a home run and a walk. ... Ian Kinsler is 3-for-8 with two RBIs and four walks. ... Michael Young is 3-for-9 with one home run and two strikeouts. ... Adrian Beltre is 1-for-9 with a strikeout.
Sat. vs. Hou.: RHP Justin Grimm vs. RHP Lucas Harrell (6-4, 4.83), 6:15 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, FOX.
Sun. vs. Hou.: RHP Colby Lewis (5-5, 3.13) vs. RHP Bud Norris (5-4, 4.81), 2:05 p.m., ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, FSSW.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.