The Texas Rangers take on the Houston Astros this weekend, for the last time as interleague foes. Next year, the Astros will be moving to the American League West, where the in-state rivalry will be able flourish and develop properly.
To help us preview the final interleague series between Houston and Texas, we've brought in Timothy De Block from the Crawfish Boxes.
Do you think the Rangers/Astros series have any more hype around them this year than years past, since the Astros will soon be competing against the Rangers directly in 2013?
Yes. In the last series there was a lot more chatter and rivalry among Astros fans. They're not happy that one of the reasons they were told the Astros were moving to the AL was because of the "natural" rivalry with the Rangers. I don't think there's more hype surrounding the series because of the move I think there's more hype because the Astros aren't as terrible as last year. And that's what will create a rivalry and with it hype, both teams being good.
Of Houston's three starting pitchers this weekend, who is the most exciting to watch, and why?
I'm going to say Jordan Lyles, simple because after that there's a TBD next to the Astros probably starting pitcher. Not that Lyles isn't exciting in his own right, he's 21 and expected to be a good middle of the rotation starter for the Astros in the future.
Yu Darvish has struggled recently. How do you expect Houston to attack him? Do you think he'll have success against the Astros?
Is guns blazing a proper term for the Silver Boot Series? My understanding is that the theory is that Yu Darvish is wearing down because he's not used to the shorter periods off in between starts. I also understand that Darvish has been walking quite a few guys so far this year. We like to pretend the Astros have become a more patient team thanks to the philosophy Jeff Luhnow has brought the club, so i expect them to take free passes.
It's no secret that Matt Cain pitched a perfect game against Houston. Surely the lineup isn't that bad, and who should the Rangers and Rangers fans keep an eye out for this weekend?
It's not, a lot of the credit should go to Matt Cain -- who by the way is a pretty good pitcher -- and the Giants defense which played great behind him. Shortstop Jed Lowrie and second basemen Jose Altuve have been the offensive force for the Astros so far this season, with a .375 and .363 wOBA respectively.
Are there any players the Rangers, and baseball fans in general, should be watching the next few weeks as the trade deadline approaches? Brett Myers is an obvious trade candidate, but are there others?
Ranger fans should be familiar with Carlos Lee. Wandy Rodriguez is apparently on the block and I Imagine Brandon Lyon and Wilton Lopez will be available out of the bullpen.