How critical is a mid-April rendezvous in Arlington?
The Astros had Monday off and before a three game series with their in-state nemesis the Texas Rangers. It is early. It is very, very, very early in the season. But there are arguments for why this might be an important series for the Astros. Consider the following:
- The Astros won the 2015 season series with 13 teams last season and the only significant series loss was to the Rangers as they only won 6 of 19 games.
- The season series loss to the Rangers was the main reason the Astros ended up as the Wild Card team and not the AL West champion they might have been.
- On August 2 they had a 4 game lead on the division. Between then and September 25 they went 20-31 and lost 8 straight to the Rangers in that time period. They went from 4 games ahead to 4.5 behind in the division and the Rangers were the ones who drove the stake in their collective hearts.
- After finally winning a series against the Tigers, the Astros are 5-8 and 2 games behind the division leading Rangers in the AL West in 2016.
It was obvious that the Astros melted during the hottest portion of the pennant race last season and that the Rangers were holding the biggest blow torch. They have the potential after this 3 game series of ending up anywhere from 1 game ahead of the Rangers to 5 games behind the Rangers.
So, some questions to ponder:
- How important is this series to the team or is it just the next 3 of 149 more games this season?
- Are the Astros any better set-up to play the Rangers this season than last?
- What are the most important areas for the Astros in slowing the Rangers down in 2016?