Slumping Rangers try to turn things around vs. Astros

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Updated: September 23, 2013

(Sports Network) – The Texas Rangers try to get themselves back into the
postseason mix on Monday when they begin a three-game set with the woeful
Houston Astros at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Texas’ September swoon continued this weekend in Kansas City, as it dropped
two of three to the Royals, including Sunday’s 4-0 setback that ended with a
Justin Maxwell grand slam in the 10th inning.

The Rangers’ 15th loss in 20 games dropped them 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland
for the second AL wild-card spot.

“They are all painful losses now,” Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “Their
guy and (Alexi) Ogando pitched amazingly, but whether we lose by one or lose
by four, every loss is going to be painful from here on out.”

Getting the call for Texas on Wednesday is lefty Derek Holland, who has lost
his last three decisions and is winless in his last eight starts. Holland,
though, pitched well on Wednesday against Tampa Bay, but did not get a
decision, as he allowed two runs and six hits in six innings of a 4-3 loss.

“Every start is big now; we’ve got to win from here on out,” Holland said of
the unmistakable mathematics at the end of the season. “Every game you win
makes it that much easier.”

Holland, who is 1-1 in five starts versus the Astros with a 4.80 ERA, is 0-5
with a 4.53 ERA in nine starts at Rangers Ballpark since May 31.

Houston, meanwhile, is just playing out the string and comes into Monday’s
opener having lost nine in a row after a weekend sweep at the hands of the
Indians.

Things may not get better for the Astros on Monday, as they have lost 14 of 16
games to the Rangers.

“I think it’s very important,” Houston manager Bo Porter said of closing out
the season. “You’re going to look at your body of work, but finishing positive
would be good for all these guys the last time through the rotation.”

Houston is also two defeats away from matching the single-season franchise
record, set last year.

The Astros will turn to righty Jordan Lyles, who has lost two of his last
three decisions. Lyles was rocked by Cincinnati last Tuesday to the tune of
nine runs (7 earned) in just 3 1/3 innings, as he fell to 7-8 to go along with
a 5.26 ERA.

Lyles’ struggles may continue, as he is 0-4 in five starts versus the Rangers
with an 8.54 ERA.