The defending champs had a five-game winning streak against Texas after taking the season opener. Well, probably a home run from George Springer, some general offensive chicanery from Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa chipping in an RBI double, six shutout innings from Justin Verlander, and a final chaser of Ken Giles scaring the ever-loving bejeezus out of you by allowing a run and a few hits in the ninth inning.
After riding a dominating six-inning, pitching performance from Verlander and home runs by George Springer and Jake Marisnick in Thursday's 4-1 Opening Day win over Texas, the Astros hand the ball to Keuchel on Friday at Globe Life Park in search of a win against their Lone Star State rivals in the teams' season-opening four-game series. Verlander (1-0) struck out five, walked two and hit a batter in his 90-pitch performance in outdueling Texas ace Cole Hamels (0-1).
The right-hander was the first of 166 major league free agents to finalize a deal this offseason, and now has a win over his old team to start 2018.
"Through the course of spring training, I've prepared well for the season", Keuchel said.
The Astros took the shift to an extreme against Texas left-handed slugger Joey Gallo, who hit 41 homers last season. "Made some adjustments and got through six but it was tough to see just based on how I felt going in and the matchup for me".
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Chris Martin and Alex Claudio each had a bases-loaded strikeout to preserve a 3-1 lead in a weird sixth inning. "It was a wild inning". Hinch said the Astros will determine after the first five games if Gurriel is healthy enough to join the team.
The Texas bullpen, a primary source of a disappointing season a year ago, is off to a strong start.
Houston Astros hitter J.D. Davis (28) strikes out on a pitch by Texas Rangers relief pitcher Alex Claudio, to end the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, March 30, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. He allowed three runs on five hits.
Rangers: Four pitchers started the season on the 10-day disabled list: lefty Martin Perez (recovering from right elbow surgery) and right-handers Tony Barnette (lower back strain), Tim Lincecum (blister on right middle finger) and Ricardo Rodriguez (right biceps tendinitis). The Astros will send Lance McCullers Jr.to the hill to go against the Rangers' Matt Moore.