Houston Astros @ Texas Rangers
Scheduled Start Time: 8:05 PM ET
(SportsNetwork.com) - No team battered the Houston Astros in 2013 more than the Texas Rangers. The Astros try to reverse their luck on Friday when the Lone Star State rivals start a three-game series at Globe Life Park.
Houston lost 111 games a year ago and 17 of those setbacks came to the Rangers who have won 11 straight in this series and are 36-7 against them since the start of the 2009 campaign.
Texas has also won the last 14 individual series in the matchup.
'They're a better team,' Texas manager Ron Washington said. 'They are another year older and they've got a real good leader in Bo Porter. The mistakes they might have made last year, they won't make as many this season. They will be able to hold on to games more than last year. They lost a lot of ballgames in the seventh inning on. I think they will be able to hold on to those leads because they've added some experience in the bullpen.
'They are not going to be anybody's doormat. You've got to bring your best game.'
Houston's struggles against the Rangers may continue on Friday, as it goes up against right-hander Yu Darvish, who came within an out of throwing a perfect game against the Astros a year ago. Overall, he is 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA in six starts against them.
After starting the season on the disabled list with stiffness in his neck and having not pitched since March 16, Darvish was victorious in his season debut on Sunday against Tampa Bay, as he limited the Rays to just seven hits over seven scoreless innings.
'If I can have three weeks off between starts, I could pitch like this every time.' Darvish said.
This will be Darvish's first start at home this season. Over the past two seasons, he is 17-8 with a 3.20 ERA in 33 starts in Arlington.
'I am looking forward to pitching in my home stadium and looking forward to a stadium that has mostly Rangers fans,' Darvish said.
Houston, meanwhile, will counter with an impressive hurler of its own in righty Scott Feldman, who is 2-0 this season with a 0.66 ERA. After dominating the New York Yankees on Opening Day, Feldman kept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at bay on Sunday, holding them to a run and three hits over seven innings.
'I didn't have the greatest command of my pitches, but the curveball was there for me for the most part for most of the game, so that helped a lot,' Feldman said. 'As the game went on, I didn't have best command of my other stuff, so I needed to get strike one somehow. If I threw a knuckleball, I probably would have thrown that up there, too.'
Feldman won't have to deal with Texas slugger Adrian Beltre, who is sidelined with a mild left quadriceps strain.