The Texas Rangers have won back-to-back games just once this season, but with two more meetings with the Houston Astros on deck, it’s easy to see them building a winning streak.
The Rangers look for their 13th straight win and 19th in 20 tries against the Astros on Saturday night.
Texas (5-5) has rotated wins and losses over the past six games, a trend that continued when Robinson Chirinos scored Kevin Kouzmanoff with two outs in the 12th for a 1-0 win in the opener of this three-game set.
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The Rangers have won 37 of their last 44 meetings with the Astros (4-7), including 12 in a row – eight of which have come in Arlington behind a 2.28 ERA.
Pitching was vital in the opener of this Lone Star Series, as Yu Darvish allowed one hit through eight innings before four relievers held Houston to one more the rest of the way.
The Rangers will be hoping Tanner Scheppers (0-1, 9.00 ERA) can draw some inspiration from that performance.
Scheppers gave up seven runs in four innings against Texas on Opening Day – his first career start after 115 relief appearances – but was better Monday in Boston. He was still on the hook for the 5-1 loss, though, after allowing two runs and nine hits over five innings.
"For the most part I kept the ball on the ground," the right-hander told the team’s official website. "I’ve got to give the team more innings. I’ve got to go deeper in the ballgame. Forcing the manager’s hand in the fifth inning is not what a starting pitcher should do."
Scheppers has allowed six runs and has a 2.68 WHIP in 6 1-3 innings over eight relief outings against Houston.
Shin-Soo Choo is only 4 for 23 in seven career games against the Astros, but he’s walked 11 times in those 34 plate appearances. He’s among the league leaders with 10 this season – three of which came Friday – and is hitting .353.
The Astros, meanwhile, have struggled offensively while losing four of five games. They’re hitting .174 with 12 runs in that stretch and have gone 2 for 28 with runners in scoring position.
They didn’t give Jarred Cosart (1-1, 4.09) any support Monday against the Angels in an odd outing for the right-hander. He only gave up three hits in six innings, but four walks were costly as he wound up being charged with a career-high five runs in a 9-1 loss.
That came five days after he tossed five scoreless innings in a 3-1 win over the New York Yankees, but Cosart claimed lethargy was a factor against the Angels.
"I couldn’t wake my body up," Cosart told the team’s official website. "Obviously, I just got behind a lot of hitters."
He allowed three runs with three walks in six innings of a 4-2 loss at Texas on Aug. 20.