The Rangers, who currently own a 2 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the AL West Division, have won six consecutive games and will send Colby Lewis to the hill today in hopes of keeping the team on track.
After going winless in six of his previous seven starts, Lewis takes the hill riding a two-game winning streak. The last time Lewis was in action, the right-hander led the Rangers to a 7-2 victory over Milwaukee.
In the win over the Brewers, Lewis tossed eight strong innings, allowing just two runs, while striking out 10 batters. It was just the second road win on the year for Lewis, who has a mediocre 3.68 earned run average in eight games as the visitor.
Lewis has made three career appearances against Houston, but this will be his first-ever start against the Astros. In just 4 1/3 innings of work against the Astros, the crafty twirler has not allowed a run and has struck out three batters.
As for the Astros, they will turn to Brian Moehler, who has spent time in the bullpen as well as the starting rotation. It has not been a smooth season for the veteran pitcher, as Moehler comes into this matchup with an 0-3 ledger and an equally poor 6.32 earned run average.
The last time the righty was on the hill, he did not last past the fifth inning in a loss to the Yankees. Moehler surrendered four runs on four hits and five walks in just 4 2/3 innings of action.
If the veteran is going to get his first win of the season, he will have to do so against a Texas squad that he has struggled against in his career. Moehler is 6-5 against the Rangers, but possesses a dismal ERA of 5.05 against them.
On Friday, Justin Smoak hit a two-run homer and drove in a total of four runs, as the Rangers handled the Astros, 9-3.
Josh Hamilton had three hits, knocked in two runs, and scored twice for the Rangers, who have won six in a row for the first time since a seven-game run from May 10-17 of last year. Hamilton extended his hitting streak to 14 games in the process.
Scott Feldman (5-6) gave up three runs on nine hits in a seven-inning start. He also fanned six batters and walked one to pick up the win.
Geoff Blum, Hunter Pence, and Jason Michaels had an RBI apiece for the Astros, who have dropped two straight and six of seven overall.
Wandy Rodriguez (3-10) lasted just three innings, allowing six runs on four hits with four walks to take the loss, his third straight.
The Rangers claimed the Silver Boot, awarded to the winner of this six-game season series, last year by taking five of six from the Astros. That included a three-game sweep in Houston in which Texas outscored its in-state opponent 17-8.