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Rangers lead Astros in race to represent Texas in the World Series

After two games at Minute Maid Park in Houston, the Rangers lead the Astros 2-0 in the American League Championship Series. Game 3 is Wednesday in Arlington.
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After two games at Minute Maid Park in Houston, the Rangers lead the Astros 2-0 in the American League Championship Series. Game 3 is Wednesday in Arlington.

Will the Texas Rangers ever lose again?

Odds say yes, although they’ve yet to do so since the Major League Baseball playoffs started. The Rangers have posted seven wins in seven postseason games, eliminating the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles in the process. Now, they’re trying to do the same to the Houston Astros.

The Astros have lost the first two games of their best-of-seven series – the first all-Texas postseason series – with the Rangers, with a trip to the World Series on the line.

Evan Grant, Rangers reporter for the Dallas Morning News, said there’s absolutely a chance for the Astros to come back – but that the Rangers are playing really good baseball “on just about every level.”

“They’re turning soft hits into singles and runs. They’re creating extra bases. Their defense has been spectacular,” he said. “And listen, one thing you haven’t been able to say about the Rangers, really in 50+ years – particularly in the playoffs when they’ve been here – is their pitching has just been absolutely fantastic. The starting pitching has has really set the tone, and they’ve held the best offenses in the American League in check really now for seven consecutive games.”

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Grant said the Rangers’ success this postseason can also be attributed to having players back from injury, as well as bringing up rookie Evan Carter, who has been phenomenal.

“This team had six players who played in the All-Star Game, and five of them ended up on the injured list at some point in time. So really in the second half, when this club started to struggle a little bit and lost a little bit of momentum, they never had their full team on the diamond,” he said. “It’s amazing to like get a new dimension to your offense as you get into October, but that’s kind of what the Rangers have pulled off.

Grant said Dallas and Houston have always had clashes, particularly over sports.

“I think there is reason on the baseball side for these two teams to not like each other, going back to 60 years ago when the Astros came into being and Judge Roy Hofheinz in Houston was very protective of trying to keep Dallas from getting a franchise – and was successful for 10 years in doing that,” he said. “The Astros had a little bit more initial success than the Rangers; the Rangers have caught up.

And while there have been a couple of high-emotion incidents between the teams over the years, the rivalry primarily exists with the fans, Grant said.

“And that’s what makes a rivalry. You know, it’s not about whether or not the players hate each other,” he said. “The players come and go; they’ve played with other guys on other teams. But it’s the fanbases.

Game 3 is Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Arlington.

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