On Deck: Houston Astros

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 2015 season. 

The Opponent: The Astros have lost 7 1/2 games in the standings to the Rangers since the calendar turned to September and they've won just three of their last 10 games and dropped two straight games.

Past 2015 Meetings: The Rangers are a resounding 12-4 against the Astros this year, including 7-0 in their last seven meetings. They also have a three-game sweep over the Astros in Houston under their belt this year.

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Pitching Matchups: Friday — Yovani Gallardo (12-11, 3.41 ERA) vs. Scott Kazmir (2-5, 3.31); Saturday — Derek Holland (3-3, 4.75) vs. Collin McHugh (17-7, 3.93); Sunday — Martin Perez (3-5, 5.21) vs. Dallas Keuchel (18-8, 2.51)

What's Hot: Chris Gimenez is on a tear as the Rangers' No. 1 catcher now, and in his past three games he's 5-for-10 at the plate with three RBIs and three walks, all while calling a good game behind the plate. Adrian Beltre drove in three runs on Thursday to give him 11 RBIs in the last six games, and you'd have to think an AL Player of the Week honor might be coming his way. The Rangers' two high-leverage lefty relievers, Jake Diekman and Andrew Faulkner, have combined for seven innings over the last week, have allowed no runs and only two hits (both off Faulkner) to go with six strikeouts.

Jose Altuve is a phenomenal hitter, and he's shown it as of late. He's batting .400 with four doubles and a triple in his last six games and was one of the few Astros hitters to have success in the Rangers' four-game sweep of Houston last week. The Astros' two bright, young stars, George Springer and Carlos Correa, are both hitting over .300 in the last week and have combined for 13 RBIs. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh were both great their last time out, but both were shelled by Texas a week ago.

What's Not: All three Rangers starters this weekend are coming off bad outings, with Yovani Gallardo having the best one with five innings of work and three runs allowed on eight hits. Martin Perez and Derek Holland both suffered with their control the last time out and were bludgeoned. Prince Fielder has two hits in his last six games, although one was a home run on Thursday.

Scott Kazmir, who has owned the Rangers despite a couple of recent losses to them, lasted just 3 2/3 innings his last time out and gave up three runs on five hits. In the last week, Colby Rasmus has three hits, but two were home runs.

Familiar Faces: You have to wonder how much the Astros are regretting letting Delino DeShields go unprotected in the Rule IV draft in December. The Rangers got him, stuck him on their big-league roster and hoped he could be a speed threat off the bench. Instead, he's become the Rangers' leadoff hitter and starting center fielder.

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