On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Rangers series during the 2014 season.
The Opponent: The Astros have the second-worst record in the American League behind your Texas Rangers, and only slightly ahead of the Colorado Rockies for the second-worst record in all of baseball. The Astros have dropped two straight to a bad Phillies team.
Past 2014 Meetings: The Astros lead the Silver Boot series 6-3 and are on pace to claim the boot for the first time in a long time. The last time the teams met the Astros swept the Rangers in a three-game set for the first time since the Bush Administration.
Pitching Matchups: Friday — Miles Mikolas (1-4, 7.29 ERA) vs. Brett Oberholtzer (4-7, 4.17); Saturday — Yu Darvish (10-6, 2.82) vs. Scott Feldman (5-8, 4.13); Sunday — Nick Martinez (1-8, 5.31) vs. Dallas Keuchel (10-7, 2.89)
What's Hot: Adam Rosales, of all people, is red-hot. He's hitting .500 in the last week, albeit in a small 10 at-bat sample size, but his two homers lifted the Rangers to a series win on Wednesday afternoon. Elvis Andrus is batting .375 over the last six games and has the longest active hitting streak in baseball. Miles Mikolas is coming off a great outing in a seven-inning, two-run outing that resulted in a tough-luck loss.
Slugging prospect Jonathan Singleton is hitting .318 with two homers and six RBIs in his last six games. All three of the Astros' scheduled starters are coming off strong outings, but none were stronger than Feldman's after he gave up one run in nine innings while scattering eight hits in his last outing.
What's Not: Alex Rios isn't helping his case as a post-deadline trade target, as he's batting just .120 over his last six games. Leonys Martin is hitting .125 over his last five games and saw the bench on Wednesday afternoon with a good lefty on the mound.
Noted Rangers killer Matt Dominguez is hitting just .208 over the last week, but he's sure to break out of that slump against Texas. Newly acquired outfield prospect Jake Marisnick is batting .150 in his first five games with the Astros after coming over from Miami in the Jarred Cosart deal.
Familiar Faces: Jerome Williams dazzled in his first start against the A's after being signed following his release from Houston, but things haven't gone nearly as well since. Scott Feldman came up with the Rangers and was the team's Opening Day starter in 2010 before taking swims through Chicago, Baltimore and now Houston.