Astros-Rangers Preview

The Texas Rangers will see plenty more of the Houston Astros in

the coming years after their intrastate rivals move to the AL West

in 2013.

Judging by how well the meetings have gone for the Rangers in

recent seasons, they’re likely looking forward to it.

Texas seeks another victory in the Lone Star Series when it

continues a three-game home set against Houston on Saturday


The Rangers have won 17 of the last 22 meetings with the Astros

following Friday’s 6-2, series-opening victory. This weekend marks

the final interleague series between the teams, as Houston will

shift from the NL Central next year in order to balance the two


AL West-leading Texas (38-27) started the weekend on a high note

despite missing Josh Hamilton, who was hospitalized for dehydration

caused by an intestinal virus.

Mitch Moreland homered and Elvis Andrus went 3 for 4. David

Murphy drove in two runs for the third straight game, going 6 for

11 in that stretch.

“It was a really good win,” Murphy told the Rangers’ official

website. “We took advantage of the mistakes and we had some

consecutively big at-bats up there and got things rolling.”

Manager Ron Washington said he doesn’t expect Hamilton to play

Saturday, when the offense looks to provide some run support for

Justin Grimm in his major league debut.

The Rangers’ fifth-round pick in 2010, Grimm is being promoted

from Double-A Frisco to help replace injured starters Alexi Ogando

and Derek Holland.

The 23-year-old right-hander was 8-3 with a Texas League-best

1.87 ERA in 13 starts and one relief appearance.

“In my opinion, I’m a power pitcher,” Grimm said. “I’ve got a

good fastball. It’s my go-to pitch. I’ve been able to command it

really well lately. I’m still continuing to develop a changeup, but

it comes sometimes and goes. Hopefully Saturday, it’s something

that I have. I’m definitely going to need it.”

The Astros (27-37) will look to take advantage of Grimm’s

inexperience in order to avoid a fourth loss in five games. Houston

has had eight or fewer hits in each of its last four contests,

including a perfect game by San Francisco’s Matt Cain on


Manager Brad Mills would like to see more aggressiveness at the


“There’s some extra steps we’re going to look at and talk to a

few guys about a few things, but at the same time, if the balls are

outside the zone, we don’t want to become chasers, either,” Mills

told the Astros’ official website.

Lucas Harrell (6-4, 4.83 ERA) will take the mound Saturday for

Houston seeking his fifth win in six starts, though he hasn’t

pitched particularly well lately.

The right-hander is 4-1 despite a 5.46 ERA over his last five

starts, He allowed five runs in 7 1-3 innings Sunday, but got

credit for an 11-9 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Harrell gave up four runs – three of them unearned – in 5 2-3

innings of a 6-5 win over the Rangers on May 19, his only career

start against them.