Los Angeles Times

MLB series of the week

- — Bill Shaikin

The two Texas teams meet for the first time this season, with the Astros looking like the class of a weak AL West, yet still plenty vulnerable. Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 Cy Young Award winner, has a 1.22 ERA, but no other Houston starter is below 4.00. The players ranking lowest in OPS: designated hitter Carlos Beltran, who turned 40 last week (.618), third baseman Alex Bregman (.649), the second overall pick in 2015, and franchise shortstop Carlos Correa (.662). The Rangers’ looming issue might be Cole Hamels, 33, who has made all his starts but is striking out batters at less than half the rate of his career average. Hamels has struck out five or fewer in five consecutiv­e starts for the first time in his career. He makes $22.5 million this year and $22.5 million next year, and 400 innings pitched in 2017-18 could guarantee him $20 million in 2019.

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