Astros-Rangers Preview

Dallas Keuchel was back to his Cy Young form the last time out for the Houston Astros. He hasn't always been sharp in Arlington.

Then again, neither have his Houston Astros of late.

As the left-hander tries to build on his latest performance, he'll look to help the Astros avoid a 10th consecutive road loss to the Texas Rangers in Thursday night's series finale.

In Keuchel's second 2016 start, he allowed three runs, six hits and matched a career high with six walks in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-2 loss at Milwaukee on April 10. Five days later, he found his dominance while yielding five hits and one walk in eight innings of a 1-0 victory over Detroit.

"He was filling up the strike zone with his stuff," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "When he does that and he's controlling contact and we play good defense behind him, that's a good combo.''

Including the postseason, Keuchel is 18-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his last 23 home starts. He's 2-0 with a 1.24 ERA in this last four against the Rangers (9-6) at home, but 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in six overall at Texas.

Perhaps the worst outing of Keuchel's career came in Arlington on Sept. 16, when he gave up a career-high nine runs and 11 hits - three homers - in 4 2/3 innings of a 14-3 loss.

Houston (5-10) is 3 for 24 with runners in scoring position over the first two of this three-game set. Rookie Tyler White homered for the fifth time in Wednesday's 2-1 loss for the Astros, who are one game ahead of Minnesota for the worst record in the AL.

"There's not one obvious solution," Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow told MLB's official website. "Our pitching hasn't been as good as we'd hoped. Our timely hitting hasn't been there. There (are) enough bright spots and enough good players that I'm optimistic we're still going to have a very productive summer."

Looking for a fourth straight victory, Texas won its 14th consecutive regular season contest with Cole Hamels on the mound Wednesday.

"It's big to have it for the team," Hamels said. "If it shows up on my record, fine, but we have had some really good wins lately, and that's something to build on.

"Ultimately, I'm winning games for the team."

A.J. Griffin (1-0, 3.27) hasn't faced the Astros since he went 3-0 despite a 4.88 ERA in four 2013 starts against them for Oakland.

Making his home debut for the Rangers, the right-hander allowed two runs - one earned - and walked four in five innings of a 4-2, 10-inning loss at Seattle last Wednesday.

Rougned Odor went 1 for 10 against Keuchel last season, but that hit left the park. Odor's two-run homer in the second inning was the difference Wednesday.

The second baseman is 11 for 33 with 10 RBIs in the last eight games after going 3 for 23 with three RBIs in the first seven. Odor is hitting .370 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in his last 14 against the Astros.

His six home runs and 24 RBIs lifetime against Houston are Odor's most opposite any opponent.


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