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Game 134 Preview: Houston Astros vs. Arlington Rangers

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The Astros look to lock up the Silver Boot with the Rangers in town.

Houston Astros (55-78) at Arlington Rangers (52-80), 7:10 p.m. (CST)

TV: CSN Houston, MLB.TV
Radio: KBME 790 AM, KLAT 1010 AM
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Pitching matchup

RHP Collin McHugh (6-9, 3.02 ERA, 1.12 WHIP) vs. RHP Nick Tepesch (4-8, 4.45 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Preview

What bizarro world are we living in? How many years would you have guessed it would take for the Astros to be ahead of the Rangers in the standing going into September after the move to the American League? Three, four, even five years? If you're an Astros fan, assuming if you're are reading this you are, you probably would have laughed at that conservative estimate. Since the start of the new decade, baseball media has time after time called the Rangers one of the best run organizations in baseball - a juggernaut for years to come. How one season can change that storyline. Injuries derailed the Rangers from the start. At this point, the Rangers looks closer to the 2013 Astros then the pre-World Series Rangers.

The Astros have a record of 8-4 against the Rangers this season, and can wrap up the Silver Boot trophy with a split in this weekend's series.

The Rangers of old should return with a fresh season of healthy players in 2015, until then the Rangers will limp to the finish line. The pitch-work rotation has a 5.10 ERA as group this season, worst in the majors. That includes Yu Darvish's 3.06 ERA in 22 starts. Nick Tepesch takes the mound tonight hoping to improve upon those numbers.

Tepesch has had a rough go of it since the All-Star break, going 1-3 with a 4.66 ERA in seven starts. In his most recent start, he gave up six runs over 6.1 innings against Kansas City. Tepesch made his first start of the season on May 14 against the Astros, giving up one run over 5.1 innings. He has an overall record of 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA in three starts against the Astros.

Jose Altuve is 3-for-9 in his career against Tepesch, and Jason Castros is batting .500 (4-8) with three extra-base against the Rangers' righty. Dexter Fowler is 1-for-1 with a two walks.

It's the return of Doctor McHugh for the Astros tonight. Surprisingly, Collin McHugh is making his first start against the Rangers as an Astro and the first time any active Rangers player has faced McHugh. I got a chance to shake McHugh's hand at the #SocialStros event, so you can blame for every negative thing that happens tonight. I say that because McHugh has been on a roll this month, allowing just six runs over 30.2 innings. He held the Indians to two runs on eight hits over 5.1 innings in his last start.

McHugh will face an offense lead of course by Adrian Beltre, he has batted .409 (9-22) in his last six games and .302 (42-139) since the All-Star Break. Daniel Robertson (.352) and Leonys Martin (.412) have both been hot over the last ten games. The replacement for Geovany SotoTomas Telis, 2-for-4 with three RBIs in his second major league game.

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