This is the final leg of the somewhat legendary Lone Star Series—the winners of which receive the magnificently mediocre Silver Boot.
The Texas Rangers want that boot. The Texas Rangers deserve that boot. In order to get it, they’ll have to take two-of-three from the lowly Astros this weekend.
It might not be pretty.
No, not the series…I feel confident the Rangers are going to shellack the Astros, I mean the actual removal of the Silver Boot from the Astros’ a**—where the Rangers stomped Houston until it stuck last month. The excavation, if you will, might not be too pretty.
Tonight, it will be The Yu versus The Who? as Texas looks to lay claim to the Silver Boot and the Lone Star Series for one final time.
A look at The Yu
RH Yu Darvish (7-4, 3.72 ERA, 1.51 WHIP, 9.5 K/9)
Darvish has never faced the Houston Astros. I think he’s going to enjoy it. After all, The Yu has yet to lose at home during his MLB career. He’s 5-0 with a 3.38 ERA at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Right-handed batters are hitting just .210 against Darvish with lefties batting .254. Darvish is coming off of the worst start of his big league career as he took the loss in Oakland after surrendering 6 earned runs on 6 hits with 6 walks. Yes, those three consecutive sixes were placed there intentionally to further illustrate the devilishly bad time Darvish had in Oaktown.
He was given two extra days of rest and will be looking to right his own ship tonight on seven days of rest.
Checking out The Who?
RH Jordan Lyles 1-2, 5.40 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 5.7 K/9)
21-year-old Jordan Lyles will be making just his seventh start of the season tonight. Lyles has already faced the Rangers once before and I’m pretty confident he’s not much looking forward to doing it again.
The Rangers’s slash line against the right-hander is: .391/.464/.565. The Rangers hit Lyles so well last month in Houston that in order to conserve space, I’m going to limit the list of Rangers that hit him well to just those batting over .500 against him…Josh Hamilton*(.571 HR), Colby Lewis**(.667 2 RBI), and David Murhpy (.500 HR).
*Josh Hamilton will not be in tonight’s starting lineup due to an intestinal virus. I’m sure that’s fine with Lyles.
**Yes, that’s right, Colby Lewis, the pitcher. Colyashi went Sgt. Kabuki-man all over Lyle’s ass…no word on if manager Ron Washington plans on sliding Lewis into the DH slot tonight…
Much like Darvish’s dreadful previous start, Lyles had his worst outing of his young major league career last time out. Against the White Sox he surrendered 7 hits, recorded no strikeouts, walked three and lasted just 4 1/3 innings, the shortest start in his career.
As previously mentioned, The Yu has not lost at home, and, that, coupled with the fact that Lyles has never won away from home, seems to favor the Rangers’ odds tonight. Lyles is particularly susceptible to left-handed batters, as they hit .333 off of him on the year. Righties are hitting .256 against the former first round selection from 2008 (38th overall selection).
Keys to a Rangers Victory:
Offensively, just jump on Lyles like last time. That should do it. The real question for the Rangers tonight surrounds Yu Darvish. Will it be “good Yu” or “bad Yu”? And how will he respond to seven days off and his second go-round with Houston?
My hunch is that Darvish will do just fine.
Darvish strikes out seven, and walks just one. Leonys Martin is an apt temporary replacement for Josh Hamilton and the Rangers roll 7-1—inching that much closer to claiming final dibs on the silver boot.