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W2W4: Rangers vs. Astros

9/22/2014

The Texas Rangers start their final homestand of the 2014 season against a team that’s beaten them up all season, the Houston Astros.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the Astros? Jose Altuve leads the majors with a .345 BA and is fourth in WAR Offense at 6.56. Jake Marisnick has 19 RBIs in 45 games for Houston since his trade from Miami. Dexter Fowler has five multihit games in the past 10 games. Chris Carter has a hit in 15 of the past 19 games. The Astros are 11-5 against the Rangers this season and won their past three in Arlington. The starting pitching has 15 quality starts in the past 21 games.

What’s up with the Rangers? Texas has won eight of the past nine games and improved interim manager Tim Bogar’s mark to 9-6 since taking over for Ron Washington. The bullpen has allowed one run in the past 19 innings of work. If the Rangers lose 100 games, they would have to lose their last seven games. Currently, Arizona (62-94) owns the worst record in the big leagues; Texas (62-93) and Colorado (65-91) follow. Leonys Martin is hitting .344 in the past 15 games. Ryan Rua hit .429 in the recently completed six-game road trip.

The return of Neftali Feliz: When the Rangers traded Joakim Soria, it moved Feliz back into the closer's role. Sunday, Feliz hit 97 mph on the gun in picking up his 11th save of the season as he struck out the side in the ninth inning. Feliz had four strikeouts and three saves in his past three appearances.

The pitching matchups: Monday: LHP Derek Holland (1-0, 0.99) versus RHP Nick Tropeano (1-1, 2.70). Tuesday: RHP Nick Martinez (4-11, 4.85) versus LHP Brett Oberholtzer (5-12, 4.39). Wednesday: TBA versus RHP Scott Feldman (8-11, 3.82).