Texas will have a chance to sweep the season series with the Astros for the first time in the history of the series on Thursday night, as Vicente Padilla takes the mound against Houston’s Brandon Backe.
Padilla has won two starts in a row since being placed on waivers a few weeks ago, beating both the Red Sox and the Dodgers—two first place clubs.
The 31 year-old was the only Rangers’ starter to beat the Dodgers last week in Arlington.
Houston’s starter Brandon Backe was brought into the rotation to make his first start of the year tonight at the Ballpark, in the stead of Mike Hampton, who was placed on the disabled list on Tuesday with a strained groin.
While Padilla has seen peaks and valleys in 2009, Backe has, to this point, seen exclusively valleys.
The Galveston-native started the year on the 15-day disabled list, before making rehab stints in Corpus Christi (AA) and Round Rock (AAA).
Since his return to major league action on May 30, Backe has thrown nine innings in four appearances; he has yet to get a decision either way, and has compiled a 12.00 ERA.
The 31 year-old has yet to make an appearance this season without surrendering a run; in a somewhat related note, the Astros have yet to win a game in which Backe has made an appearance.
Texas is looking for the sweep, though they are already guaranteed the Silver Boot, as well as the best record, by either team, in the history of the Lone Star Series.
Previously, the most decided season series victory was 4-2, which has been accomplished by Houston three times and Texas twice.
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