W2W4: Astros at Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers begin a seven-game homestand with a three-game series against American League West rival Houston beginning at 7:05 tonight at Globe Life Park.

Both teams are going through a rough patch. Texas (38-50) is coming off a 1-6 road trip and has won only three of its last 18. Houston (36-54) has lost seven straight. The Rangers are a fourth in the West, 17 games behind Oakland. Houston is fifth, 20 games out of first.

The season series is tied at three wins apiece. Texas took two of three at home in April and Houston did the same at home in May. Three of the Rangers’ series wins have come via shutout. Houston has one shutout.

Keep an eye on:

*Adrian Beltre comes off another solid road trip and leads the Rangers in average, home runs, RBIs and on-base percentage. He was rewarded by being named to the All-Star team on Sunday. Beltre is hitting .429 against Astros pitching this season.

*Robinson Chirinos has shown remarkable improvement at the plate. The Rangers catcher batted .214 in April, .224 in May and .304 in June. His three-run homer against the Mets propelled the Rangers to their only win on the road trip.

*The batting average of Houston second baseman Jose Altuve has dropped 10 points in the last week, but he still leads the AL at .337. The 24-year-old is hitting .333 against the Rangers so far this season and is also an All-Star.

*Neal Cotts, the Rangers left-handed late inning specialist, feasts on the Astros. Over the last two seasons, he’s faced them in seven games, totaling 7.1 innings, allowing just one earned run with 15 strikeouts. He’s worked 2.2 scoreless innings against Houston this season.

*Astros rookie George Springer is the club leader with 17 home runs and 46 RBIs. His batting average is only .235, but he has drawn 36 walks. Against the Rangers this season, Springer is hitting .364 with a home run and three RBIs.