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Winning the West Comes Down to Rangers-Stros

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Texas Rangers singles on a soft liner in the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 18, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

    If you can remember back to the beginning of the season, I had a series going of the five X-factors for success for the Texas Rangers.

    One of those was dominating the Astros like they did last year when they went 13-6 against Houston, despite the fact the Astros were ahead in the standings until the final week of the regular season.

    So with Tuesday marking the first game of the season series, there are several folks stating their cases as to why the Rangers will win the West, and conversely, why the Astros will.

    Our media partners at The Dallas Morning News laid out the five reasons the Rangers will win the West, and of course, it basically all was tied into their 19 games against each other this year.

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    So, here were the Morning News' reasons:

    Aces: The Rangers already have Cole Hamels, and with a lot of games against Houston coming later in the year, they should have a version of Yu Darvish that is getting better and better with each start.

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    Bullpen: The Rangers' bullpen is flat-out better than Houston's.

    Strong finishers: Shin-Soo Choo, Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder are all historical strong finishers. They carried the Rangers down the stretch last year and should again.

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    (Published Friday, March 10, 2017)

    Schedule: The Rangers play 12 of their final 15 games at home, while the Astros only have seven of their last 15. Last year, the Astros were great at home and barely average, if that, on the road.

    Manager:

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    Then, the Houston Chronicle decided to rebuttal with these reasons, which of course, aren't as strong:

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    Lineup, top to bottom, is dangerous: Well, Texas' ain't bad either.

    Carlos Correa is a budding superstar: Yes, yes he is.

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    They have the reigning Cy Young winner: Yes, yes they do. But he can't pitch in Arlington.

    They have depth: OK.

    They can add ammo at trade deadline: OK, so do the Rangers.

    The key to the whole race is what the teams do at the trade deadline, and both teams are armed to make moves. I'm almost certain the Rangers will go get another front line starter to pair with Hamels and Darvish, and then they're going to be pretty tough to beat.