If the Astros are going to get anything going, build any kind of momentum, they're going to have to find a way to solve the Texas Rangers.
Houston's in-state American League West division rivals have owned the Astros in recent years, including 2013, when the Rangers went 17-2 against the Astros. The Rangers took two of three from the Astros in Arlington last month in a series that featured three one-run games, and now the Lone Star Series shifts to Minute Maid Park for three games beginning Monday.
"I think you just feel good when you play a team," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We know if we do what we're supposed to do every single day against them, we're going to have a high percentage to win the game. But you never know. Baseball is crazy. It's about who plays the best that day. You still have to go out and execute, score early and try to get in a rhythm."
The Astros will send Brad Peacock, who's pitched well since being moved to the rotation, to the mound, hoping to keep their strong starting pitching going. Houston starters had a 2.10 ERA on the team's seven-game road trip to Detroit and Baltimore that ended Sunday.
"They've shown it pretty consistently, and they've done a tremendous job executing game plans," catcher Jason Castro said of the starters. "As long as they keep that up, that's all we can ask. They keep doing their job, and we turn things around offensively, we're going to start playing better baseball."
Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis (2-2, 6.12 ERA) is coming off his worst start of the season in which he gave up a career-high-tying 12 hits and seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in a 9-2 loss to the Rockies on Tuesday. But he's had success against the Astros, going 4-1 with a 1.72 ERA in nine appearances (six starts).
And he's also excelled at Minute Maid Park, going 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in five games (three starts).
"In the past, it's been in the National League and I've always been excited to swing the bat," he said of facing the Astros. "I think I really enjoy that side, when you're able to hit, it keeps you a little more in the game. Maybe I've always been excited to go out there and pitch and hit. I really enjoy the stadium and the city. It's a nice, easy travel. I always feel like I'm well rested."
Rangers: Darvish to miss the Astros
Ace Yu Darvish has pitched some big games against the Astros -- he came within one out of a perfect game in the second game of the season a year ago -- but he won't be able to make his previously scheduled start in Wednesday's series finale.
Martin Perez experienced discomfort in his left elbow after his third straight subpar start Saturday and will miss at least one start. He was previously slated to make his next start Friday against the Blue Jays. Right-hander Nick Tepesch was scratched from his start for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday and will start for the Rangers on Wednesday instead.
Darvish threw 126 pitches in Friday's win over the Red Sox, when he took a perfect game into the seventh inning and lost a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning for the second time in his career. But the decision to move him back to Friday was primarily because Perez was scratched from his next start.
Astros: Sipp proving to be a boost in the bullpen
The Astros have been thrilled with what left-handed reliever Tony Sipp has been able to give them after he was signed to a contract 10 days ago. In three appearances with the team, Sipp has sent down all 12 batters he's faced, including two perfect innings in Sunday's win in Baltimore.
"I definitely wanted to make a good impression," he said. "I think we're just looking for wins, and now I want to be able to contribute to anything positive that's going on with the team and just making a first impression and being able to kind of reassure the staff.
"I kind of studied up and read on the team whenever I got picked up by these guys, and [the bullpen] was one of the things they said [I] needed to work on. Having days like [Sunday] will definitely change it around, and hopefully if the starter goes six, seven [innings] we can be that strong option."
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is heating up. He enters the series against the Rangers on a four-game hitting streak, during which he is batting .438 with two doubles and two walks.
• Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez is batting .311 with four walks, five doubles, a homer and three RBIs in his last 12 games. He has a six-game hitting streak, batting .360 in that span.
• The Astros are 3-9 in one-run games, including 1-2 against the Rangers. Both of the Astros' losses to the Rangers have been by 1-0 scores.