Yu Darvish makes his first-ever start against a National League team when theTexas Rangers host in-state rival Houston in the second interleague series of the season between the two clubs. The Houston Astros were on the losing end of a perfect game by San Francisco’s Matt Cain on Wednesday night but rebounded with a 6-3 victory over the Giants on Thursday. The Rangers had won four of five before being crushed by Arizona, 11-3, on Thursday night.
Texas, which leads the major leagues in almost every major offensive category, has been paced by a monster season from CF Josh Hamilton, who is batting .330 with 22 home runs and 62 runs batted in. Houston has shown improvement offensively this season but is still struggling to find consistent pitching, ranking among baseball’s worst teams in ERA (27th, 4.48), WHIP (27th, 1.40) and several other categories. The Rangers have won six of the last nine head-to-head meetings, including two of three in Houston last month.
Astros Rangers Betting
When: 8:05 PM ET, Friday, June 15, 2012
Where: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Arlington, Texas
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, Fox Sports (Houston), KTXA (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Astros RH Jordan Lyles (1-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. Rangers RH Yu Darvish (7-4, 3.72)
The 21-year-old Lyles has had a rough go of it recently, surrendering 19 runs (16 earned) in 21 1/3 innings over his last four starts. He walked three with no strikeouts in his last outing against the Chicago White Sox on June 9. Lyles is 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers, including a loss on May 20 (5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 K).
Darvish has struggled recently after a hot start, losing three of his last four and only making it through the sixth inning once during that stretch. The Japanese rookie has given up 17 runs (15 earned) and walked 18 over his last 20 2/3 innings. Darvish is still unbeaten at home, however, posting a 5-0 record and a 3.38 ERA in his five starts in Arlington.
1. The Astros are just 16-35 in their last 51 interleague games, but they have won four straight against AL opponents when facing a right-handed starter.
2. The Rangers are a combined 19-for-63 (.302) with four home runs against Lyles, led by Hamilton (4-for-7, HR, 2 RBIs, BB).
3. Texas will place RHP Koji Uehara (strained right lat) on the 15-day disabled list this weekend, making room for minor-league RHP Justin Grimm, who is expected to start Saturday.