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 2016 season. 

The Opponent: The Houston Astros have gotten off to a slow start this year, but they've also played some much better teams than Texas, which is in first place early in the year.

Past Meetings: The Rangers won the West last year by dominating the Astros — winning the season series 13-6.

Pitching Matchups: Tuesday — Scott Feldman (0-1, 3.48 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (1-0, 2.31); Wednesday — Doug Fister (1-1, 7.59) vs. Cole Hamels (2-0, 2.95); Thursday — Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 2.18) vs. A.J. Griffin (1-0, 3.27).

What's Hot: Delino DeShields is heading into a series against the team that dumped him on a hot streak, as he's hitting .500 (11-for-22) over the last five games. That includes two doubles and a rare homer. Elvis Andrus is hitting .471 over that same time, and Derek Holland is coming off a spectacular outing when he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings.

The Astros' bats aren't scary hot right now, but they are still doing their thing, which is hitting the ball out of the yard. Pint-sized hitting machine Jose Altuve is hitting .407 in the last week with three homers and George Springer is batting .357 with two bombs.

What's Not: Prince Fielder has just three hits in his last 24 at-bats, but at least he does have four RBIs. He's struck out seven times and has walked just once, though, and that's not good. Cole Hamels was bad for him in his last outing, giving up three runs on seven hits in just 5 1/3 innings.

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Some of the Astros' big bats — Carlos Correa, Luis Valbuena and Evan Gattis — are all cold right, and the Astros' new-look bullpen is struggling in a big way, most notably Ken Giles, who was acquired to be their closer but has an ERA of nearly 8.00.

Familiar Faces: Scott Feldman was once a near 20-game winner for the Rangers and an Opening Day starter, and of course, the Rangers swiped Delino DeShields from Houston last year in the Rule V draft for nothing. Oh, and there's that Nolan Ryan guy.

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