Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rangers, Astros renew Texas-sized rivalry

The Rangers and the Astros meet for the first time on Tuesday as the two teams renew a rivalry that increased significantly in intensity last season.
The Rangers edged the Astros by two games to win the American League West title in 2015. They did so in part by winning 13 of 19 games against the Astros, including eight in a row at one point in the second half.
"Last year, everything being so competitive, that was a fun one," Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "That added to the rivalry and it has definitely amped up over the years. It seems like before the stands were half full. Now wherever you go, you see either orange or red. It's fun going against a team like that and having an intrastate rivalry."
"Last year those games were amazing," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "It was good baseball and great for Texas. We haven't been through something like that in awhile. It's going to be a tough rivalry."
The Rangers and the Astros didn't start playing each other in Interleague Play until 2001 and their rivalry was lukewarm at best. That changed in 2013 when the Astros joined the AL, and last season was the first real hint at what this rivalry could become.
"What it means for baseball is you have two really good teams who have built their teams in somewhat different ways but arrive on the scene prepared to win," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The same can be said for some of the northeast rivalries, the West Coast has its own set of rivalries now. That's neat for our sport. I'm glad that we were a part of it. We want to sustain that moving forward."
Things to know about this game
• The Rangers were rained out on Sunday so they have altered their rotation for the Astros series. Derek Holland will pitch on Tuesday, followed by Cole Hamels and A.J. Griffin. Holland is 3-2 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 career starts against the Astros.
• Former Ranger Scott Feldman will open the series for the Astros. He is 3-4 with a 4.14 ERA in nine career starts against his former team.
• Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena hit .313 with four home runs and 11 RBIs in 15 games against the Rangers last season. Shortstop Carlos Correa hit .308 with four home runs and nine RBIs in 13 games.

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