MLB

Tue, Apr 2, 2013 - 8:10 PM ET
 

Rangers-Astros Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Houston Astros' first game since moving to the AL couldn't have gone much better. Building on it in their second one could prove difficult with Yu Darvish set to take the mound for the Texas Rangers.

Houston tries to open with two wins for the first time in a decade when this new AL West rivalry continues at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night.

Expectations are low for the Astros as they finished with the worst record in the major leagues in each of the last two seasons - including a club-record 107 losses in 2012 - before the club's 50-year run in the NL ended for this year. However, for one night at least, Houston found itself atop the AL standings after defeating Texas 8-2 on Sunday.

Rick Ankiel's three-run pinch-hit homer in the sixth inning made 40-year-old Bo Porter a winner in his managerial debut, and gave Houston its first season-opening victory since 2006.

"To play our rivals here in Texas and to come out on top today, it's a treat," designated hitter Carlos Pena said.

Facing Darvish isn't. The right-hander begins his second big-league season after going 16-9 with a 3.90 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 2012.

Darvish went 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in his final six outings before taking the loss in the Rangers' winner-take-all wild-card game against Baltimore.

"I expect him to begin where he left off last season," pitching coach Mike Maddux told the Rangers' official website. "He had a nice spring (a 1.98 ERA and .167 opponents' batting average) and I see more confidence there."

Darvish has faced the Astros once - a 6-2 home win June 15 in which he struck out 11 in eight innings of two-run ball.

Center fielder Justin Maxwell, who had two triples and two RBIs on Sunday, is the only Astro with more than one hit off Darvish. He's 2 for 3 with a homer.

Houston's Lucas Harrell gets the challenge of matching up with Darvish on Tuesday.

"I look at it more like I'm facing their lineup," said Harrell (11-11, 3.76), who set career highs with 193 2/3 innings and 140 strikeouts last season. "They've got a good lineup, and I need to definitely be on my game."

That's especially true when he faces third baseman Adrian Beltre, who's 5 for 7 with two doubles against the right-hander. Nelson Cruz and David Murphy, who drove in the Rangers' runs Sunday, are each 2 for 6 with a homer off Harrell.

Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus is hitless in four-at-bats against Harrell, and he went 0 for 4 on Sunday. Andrus has agreed to an eight-year, $120 million extension.

New Rangers designated hitter and longtime Astro Lance Berkman is batting .471 (24 for 51) in a 13-game hitting streak at Minute Maid Park. He went 2 for 4 on Sunday when the Rangers dropped their opener for the first time since 2008.

"I think there have been some people who have been disparaging in their analysis of (Houston's) talent level, but this is the major leagues, and any team is capable of beating any other team on a given night,'' Berkman said.

Texas hasn't opened 0-2 since an 0-3 start to 2007.

Tagged: Rangers, Astros, Lucas Harrell

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



MLB Videos

Bautista talks Derek Jeter's final All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Jose Bautista discusses Derek Jeter's career and his final appearance in the MLB...

Jeter honored to play in last All-Star Game Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Derek Jeter compares his first All-Star Game experience with his last, Mike Trou...

Matheny defends Wainwright: He's out there to compete Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Mike Matheny comments on the media's reaction to Adam Wainwright's joke about le...

SimLeague Baseball - Simulation Baseball Game

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Yankees/browse/featuredproduct/606363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_606000/ff_606363_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike New York Yankees Practice T-Shirt - Ash
    Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/1064043/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1064000/ff_1064043_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic Detroit Tigers 2012 MLB American League Champions Clubhouse Locker Room..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room T-Shirt - Gray http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067359/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067359_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room Pullover Hoodie - Steel http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067382/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067382_xl.jpg&w=100 54.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker R..
    New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Room 39THIRTY Flex Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1067785/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1067000/ff_1067785_xl.jpg&w=100 31.95 New Era San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Clubhouse Locker Ro..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068294/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068294_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Glory T-Shirt - Bl..
    Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice Performance Jersey - Black/Orange http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Francisco_Giants/browse/featuredproduct/1068787/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1068000/ff_1068787_xl.jpg&w=100 94.95 Majestic San Francisco Giants 2012 MLB World Series Champions Batting Practice P..