Houston (29-33) at Texas (35-27)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 48° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Tue Jun 16, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Houston Astros were in the midst of a seven-game slide when they were swept by the Texas Rangers last month.

Texas should have a considerably more difficult time repeating that success.

The Astros have won five consecutive series since snapping their season-high losing streak, and they’ll hope Wandy Rodriguez(notes) can help them get off to a good start Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game set with the rival Rangers in Arlington.

Houston (29-32) was outscored 17-8 last month as the Rangers came into Minute Maid Park and left with a three-game sweep, which it followed by dropping all three games in Cincinnati.

That was the last series Houston has lost. The Astros are 11-5 since then, and with an 8-3 win Sunday in Arizona took their fifth straight series.

“I’ve said it and I’ll keep saying it, good baseball is the point,” manager Cecil Cooper said. “Good baseball is what we’ve got to play and what we’ve been playing.”

One of Houston’s RBIs on Sunday came off the bat of former Ranger Ivan Rodriguez(notes), who is in line for a milestone moment in the city where he spent the first 12 seasons of his career. Rodriguez may not start Tuesday, but Cooper hinted he will get in to catch his 2,226th game, tying Carlton Fisk’s all-time record at the position.

“Being able to do (it in Arlington) will be nice,” Rodriguez told the Astros’ official Web site. “It will be nice for my family, my friends and the fans. They’re great fans, and I think they look forward to it, too.”

Wandy Rodriguez (5-5, 2.82 ERA), who’s been by far Houston’s best starting pitcher, is looking for a second strong outing in a row.

After not allowing more than three earned runs in any of his first 10 starts, the left-hander had given up 12 in his previous two outings heading into a game against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday. Rodriguez didn’t figure in the decision in a 2-1 win, but allowed just a run in seven innings while striking out six.

He is 3-0 with a 3.26 ERA in three career starts against Texas (35-27), though second baseman Ian Kinsler(notes) (7 for 10) has had Rodriguez’s number.

Kinsler is hitting .121 (3 for 44) without an RBI in his past eight games, though, and the rest of the Rangers are struggling as well. Texas, which has been without injured outfielder Josh Hamilton(notes) since the end of May, has scored 14 runs while dropping four of its last six.

The Rangers were limited to six hits for the second straight game in Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“We’re not panicking when it comes to our offense,” said third baseman Michael Young(notes), who’s hitting .125 (3 for 24) six games into a nine-game homestand. “We know we’ll make adjustments. … We’ll get there. We’re confident. It’s a matter of time.”

Texas has gotten solid efforts nearly every time Kevin Millwood(notes) (6-4, 2.72) has pitched, but he’s been even better in his last two starts. Millwood hasn’t allowed an earned run over 14 2-3 innings in those outings, and Thursday he held Toronto to five hits over 7 2-3 innings in a 1-0 victory.

Millwood gave up seven runs and 12 hits in five innings in his last start in Houston, as Rodriguez limited the Rangers to a run in eight innings while striking out nine in a 7-2 win June 26.

Millwood may get a break if left fielder Carlos Lee(notes) can’t go for the Astros. Lee missed his first start of the season Sunday with left leg cramps, and he’s listed as day-to-day.

Related Articles

Starting Pitchers

W. Rodríguez KC vs. K. Millwood Sea
14-12 Record 13-10
3.02 ERA 3.67
193 K 123
63 BB 71
1.24 WHIP 1.34


Tuesday, Jun 16