06/18/10 1:05 AM ET
Astros hope to break Rangers' hold on Boot
By Jordan Schelling / MLB.com
At stake with be the Silver Boot, which measures nearly 30 inches high and displays a size 15 cowboy boot cast in silver, complete with a custom hand-made spur. The team with the best record in the annual six-game series gets possession of the award until the next year. In the event of a 3-3 split, total margin of victory decides the victor.
The Rangers have won the Silver Boot six times in nine seasons, with outright victories in 2005 and '07 (both 4-2) and '09 (5-1) and the most total runs scored in '01, '04, and '08. Overall, Texas has a 28-26 advantage in the series, which began in '01.
The Silver Boot, which has been on display in the Rangers Hall of Fame exhibit at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, will be on exhibit at Minute Maid Park this weekend.
"It will be fun. Hopefully the fans will get a kick out of it," Rangers third baseman Michael Young said of the series. "It's still hard to say it's a true rivalry when we're trying to win the [American League] West and they're trying to win games in the [National League] Central. We have different goals, but once you get on the field ... baseball is baseball."
The two teams enter the series having found distinctly different levels of success in 2010. At 38-28, the Rangers own a 2 1/2-game lead over the Angels in the AL West while the Astros, at 26-41, are 11 games behind the first-place Reds.
After completing a 10-game road trip that included six games in AL ballparks and saw the Astros go 4-6 away from home, manager Brad Mills hopes the team will improve as it returns to the comforts of Minute Maid Park.
One key, he said, will be for the bench players to be ready to return to more frequent action.
"It's an adjustment for our guys, we'll need more pinch-hitters in the National League parks," Mills said. "So I need to kind of get these guys ready and they need some at-bats. I kind of prefer that National League style of play. We just need to keep out guys prepared so they can go out and play to the best of their abilities."
Rangers: Young in elite club of active players
After collecting his 1,748th career hit on Wednesday, Young became the all-time hits leader in franchise history. Young is now one of four active players to hold the career hits record for their current team. The others are: Derek Jeter (Yankees, 2,827), Todd Helton (Rockies, 2,185) and Carl Crawford (Rays, 1,370).
Astros: Rodriguez owns Rangers at Minute Maid
Lefty Wandy Rodriguez will be making his fifth career appearance against the Rangers on Friday, a team against which he owns a 3-1 career record with a 5.01 ERA. Against Texas at Minute Maid Park, the Astros' lefty holds a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA and 16 strikeouts.
Houston is 2-7 this season against American League opponents, including having lost seven of its past eight in Interleague Play. ... The Astros have lost six of their past eight Interleague series over the past two years. ... With their win on Thursday, the Rangers are 10 games above .500 for the first time this season. Their current five-game winning streak matches a season high as well as their best road win streak of 2010. ... The Rangers' three-game sweep of the Marlins was just their fourth on the road in Interleague Play. The other three came at Pittsburgh in '02, at Florida in '04 and at Houston in '09.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.