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If the Houston Astros are heading into a two-game series against rival Texas with the idea that theyll be able to push around the rebuilding Rangers and get back on track after three straight losses James Daniels Color Rush Jersey , maybe its time to think again.
The Astros will send struggling left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 4.22 ERA) to the mound in the first game of the series on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Texas will counter with right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 3.57).
Houston lost three straight games in Tampa Bay last weekend, including a 3-2 setback on Sunday, and dropped its first series since May 28-30 at Yankee Stadium.
The Astros were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position on Sunday and 0-for-14 in the series. Houston managed just seven runs in the four-game series all on homers, including two solo shots Sunday by Evan Gattis.
It was the Astros fewest runs in a four-game series on the road since they scored five at Tropicana Field against the Rays in 2014.
We didnt do enough to win the game or the series, Astros manager AJ Hinch told mlb.com. We made some mental errors, we had some big moments that they executed some pitches. One-run games, a couple of losses this series, are tough to swallow. Well take it to the next city, but this one sucks.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have been as hot as the triple-digit temperatures in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Texas is 12-6 since the Astros swept a four-game series from them in Arlington on June 7-10 and have won a season-best five straight series http://www.bengalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-malik-jefferson-jersey , including taking two of three games last weekend at home against the White Sox.
Texas ended that series with a 10-5 loss on Sunday in which ace starter Cole Hamels struggled, allowing a season-high seven earned runs and nine hits, which matched his high for the year.
Hamels, who has been the constant subject of trade talks for the past month, said afterward that he was blocking out that talk and it had no effect on his performance.
Its not a big deal. Its out of my control, Hamels said. I have to go and pitch, and hopefully thatll be the last time I have to answer that question.
Keuchel took a no-decision in his last start on June 27 against Toronto, allowing six runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of the Astros 7-6 comeback victory. He surrendered five runs in the first inning before settling in to pitch five scoreless innings.
Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner and a 2-time All-Star (2015, 2017), will make his 18th start of the season and third against the Rangers this year. He is 9-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 25 career games, all starts, against Texas and is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 17 1/3 innings versus the Rangers in 2018.
Keuchel has not been as successful this season as over the past four seasons but hes still inducing a high ground ball rate and soft contact. He leads the AL in groundball to fly-ball ratio (2.64) Jalen Reeves-Maybin Jersey , while ranking third in soft contact percentage (23.1 percent).
Bibens-Dirkx will make his fifth start of the season and his first start against the Astros. Hes coming off a no-decision against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, when he allowed two hits and struck out six in five scoreless innings in a game that San Diego won 3-2. Bibens-Dirkx is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA at home this season.
Bibens-Dirkx was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock before his June 20 start against Kansas City for his second stint with Texas in 2018. He will be working on regular four days rest; the Rangers are 2-2 in his four starts this season.
Cubs infielder Javier Baez is feeling better after he was hit on the left elbow by a pitch.
Baez was plunked by Jack Flaherty in the third inning of Sunday nights 5-0 loss at St. Louis. But he could return as soon as Tuesdays day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He was not in the starting lineup before Mondays series opener against Los Angeles was postponed by a mixture of poor weather and a limited power outage at Wrigley Field. He said his elbow is still pretty swollen, but he felt good and no X-rays were needed.
I was scared for a moment but after I started feeling everything, I knew everything was good, he said.
Baez leads the Cubs with 14 homers and is tied for the team lead with 46 RBIs.
Thats a tough one right there, manager Joe Maddon said. Ive actually gone through that particular instance, and it stings and you want to throw up and its hot, but you actually come out of it.
Hes a tough kid. Im not totally surprised that hes fine. Its just an awkward spot when it happens.
Baez said Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina texted him Sunday night to see if he was all right.
Also Monday, the Cubs placed reliever Brian Duensing on the bereavement list and recalled left-hander Rob Zastryzny from Triple-A Iowa. Duensings grandfather died on Saturday.
He is in a better place but we miss him dearly already, Duensing posted on his Twitter account.
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