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Major League Baseball
Preview
Texas at Houston
When: 8:10 PM ET, Friday, August 29, 2014
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Beating a team with the worst record in the majors may not sound like much of an accomplishment, but the Houston Astros can claim the Silver Boot for the first time in eight years when they host the Texas Rangers on Friday in the second contest of a four-game series. The Astros are 9-4 against their intrastate rivals this season and have won eight of the last nine meetings following Thursday's 4-2 victory. It marks a dramatic reversal from a year ago, when Texas went 17-2 against Houston.

The Astros, who last won the Golden Boot in 2006, notched their 57th victory in the series opener to surpass their total from each of the past three seasons. Texas has been decimated by injuries and it continued Thursday when right fielder Jim Adduci took a hard fall after tumbling over a teammate and banging his head on the ground. Alex Rios missed the past two games with a thumb injury and another outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo, will undergo surgery Friday to remove a bone spur from his left elbow

TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Texas), CSN Houston

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Scott Baker (2-3, 5.45 ERA) vs. Astros LH Brett Oberholtzer (4-9, 4.01)

Baker was victorious in a spot start last time out, cooling off Kansas City with five innings of one-run ball. It marked only the fifth start of the season and first since July 13 for Baker, who has made four relief appearances of at least five innings this season. Baker came out of the bullpen to face the Astros three times in less than a five-week span, allowing four runs and striking out six in 5 1/3 innings.

Oberholtzer permitted 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings last time out but minimized the damage to three runs in a loss at Cleveland, stretching his winless drought to four starts. It was the seventh time in eight starts that Oberholtzer has surrendered three runs or fewer and the 12th time in 13 turns that he has pitched at least six innings. He is 0-2 in four appearances (three starts) against the Rangers despite a 2.25 ERA.

WALK-OFFS

1. Rangers CF Leonys Martin has three straight multi-hit contests, going 7-for-13.

2. Astros C broke out of an 0-for-20 slump with a grand slam and single in Thursday's game.

3. Rangers LHP Derek Holland made his final rehab start at Triple-A Round Rock on Thursday and is expected to be activated next week.

PREDICTION: Astros 5, Rangers 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Texas 52-81 L1 24-40 28-41 10-23 14-16 21-32 7-10
Houston 57-78 W1 31-38 26-40 16-18 13-15 24-32 4-13
Last Meeting
Texas Houston
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/28/14 TEX 2 HOU 4 .242 0 .530 .241 1 .716
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Texas A. Beltre .372 16 1.070
Houston J. Altuve .340 17 .824
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Texas A. Beltre 3 5 7
Houston C. Carter 3 11 6
Pitching ERA Avg K
Texas 4.95 .257 113
Houston 3.16 .275 109
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Texas A. Beltre .325 147 .876
Houston J. Altuve .332 182 .803
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Texas A. Beltre 17 66 67
Houston C. Carter 33 60 78
Pitching ERA Avg K
Texas 4.72 .255 937
Houston 4.33 .239 953