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Rangers-Astros Has Makings of Classic Series

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    HOUSTON, TX - JULY 18: A bench clearing scuffle had both teams on the field in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park on July 18, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

    The Texas Rangers' series with the Houston Astros in recent years haven't exactly been must-see television, and definitely hasn't been worth a trip out to Globe Life Park.

    Starting this season, and particularly Monday night, for four nights, that completely changes.

    Since the Astros joined the American League a few seasons ago, they've been a mere anthill in the way of the mammoth Rangers. Last year, that changed when the Rangers had an anomaly of an awful year, and the Astros were young and terrible.

    This year, they're both good, and they're competing over the final three weeks of the season for the AL West crown — something that would've been pretty hard to say from a Rangers' perspective back in April and May.

    The gravity of the Rangers-Astros began in their first meeting this year with the Rangers' home opener when Derek Holland made the start and lasted exactly nine pitches, leaving the game after one inning only to miss the next four months. He'll oppose AL Cy Young favorite Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday.

    That gravity came to a head back on July 18 when a shoving match between Rougned Odor and Houston catcher Hank Conger led to a benches-clearing fracas in which Rangers manager Jeff Banister and Astros skipper A.J. Hinch were in each others' faces — a scene that will go down in Rangers lore if this season ends in a positive manner.

    Odor will be in the lineup, ready to get under the skin of every Astros pitcher he faces this week.

    It's going to be a fun week in Arlington, and there's going to be a ton on the line. One more win clinches the Silver Boot for the Rangers with a season series win, but we all know that's not what matters at the moment.