SERIES PREVIEW

Astros-Rangers series breakdown: Take care of business

Composite photo by Brandon Strange

Probable starters

Tues, Sept. 15 - TEX: Kyle Cody (0-1, 0.93) vs. HOU: Jose Urquidy (0-1, 3.72)

Wed, Sept. 16 - TEX: Kyle Gibson (1-5, 6.14) vs. HOU: Lance McCullers Jr. (3-2, 5.79)

Thurs, Sept. 17 - TEX: Jordan Lyles (1-4, 7.80) vs. HOU: Framber Valdez (3-3, 4.08)

Storylines

Take Care of Business: The Astros have been awful on the road, going 7-18 away from Minute Maid Park, but 16-6 in their friendly confines. The Astros have been similarly putrid against above .500 teams, while performing well against below .500 teams. Houston needs that trend to continue if they want to hold onto a playoff spot.

McCullers Returns: Lance McCullers is returning from his stint on the IL. His health will be paramount if the Astros want to make a playoff run. It's a delicate balance, as you don't want to handle him with kid gloves too much, but you don't want to risk injury to him again.

Streaky Seattle: Seattle sits just 1.5 GB of the Astros for 2nd place in the AL West after they ripped off a six game winning streak while the Astros struggled on their West coast road swing. The pressure is on Houston to fend off the Mariners.

Prediction

Jose Urquidy, Lance McCullers, and Framber Valdez are three quality MLB arms. Combine the ideal starting pitching matchups with a return to Minute Maid Park, and the Astros sweep the Rangers.

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