Rangers’ take on Lone Star Series rivalry

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry’s Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ARLINGTON — Nathaniel Lowe vaguely remembers a time when he was golfing in Houston during the 2021 season, minding his own business on an off-day. That was the first time Lowe became aware of the full extent of the Lone Star Series rivalry.

“Yeah I caught some heat,” Lowe said. “We had a guy come up and say some things, that’s what we get, you know, it’s a heated rivalry.

“I understand why there’s some animosity but for me personally, other than losing to those guys more than I want to, there’s not too much that I have invested in there. They’re the next bump in the road to our World Series.”

The Rangers-Astros rivalry doesn’t have the nostalgia (or pennants) of a rivalry like Yankees-Red Sox — which existed well before either Texas club was even formed — but the intensity has grown over the years to feel similar in a way.

The rivalry, also known as the Silver Boot Series, was first established in Interleague Play when the Astros were in the National League and Rangers in the American League. The two clubs have played 266 times since their first meeting on June 8, 2001, at The Ballpark in Arlington, with the Rangers holding a slim 134-132 series lead at the end of the regular season.

“[The Astros] are the reigning champs and you have to give them that respect,” designated hitter Mitch Garver said in Houston on Monday night. “They won the [American League] West, and we’re a Wild Card team. We have that [underdog] mentality about us.”

Quite simply, the Rangers want to stop being the “little brother,” Garver said.

The Rangers went 4-9 against the Astros in the regular season, including a brutal three-game sweep in September that looked like it might end Texas’ season right there.

Two wins away from a trip to the World Series, the Rangers aren’t thinking about the past. They’ll return home with a chance to clinch the organization’s third pennant in front of the home fans at Globe Life Field.

All that matters is what is right in front of them. 

“You just want to come in here and play good baseball,” said veteran second baseman Marcus Semien. “Whatever happened in the regular season does not matter. The game planning and how we attack people and what worked last time, what didn’t? That matters, but these are playoff baseball games. Anything can happen. I think that the baseball we’re playing now and the roster that we have now is a lot better than it was at that point.” 

For all the animosity between fans in North and South Texas, the two teams really do just respect each other and what they’ve been able to do this season. 

“We compete hard,” Lowe said. “They’ve got a good team over there. We’ve got a good team in this clubhouse. Sure, emotions are going to get involved. It’s hard not to with the way the fan bases interact. But if we play too many emotional games, we’re going to lose sight of winning one pitch at a time. And we’re at our best when we win one pitch at a time.”

And Rangers catcher Jonah Heim had one more thing to add about the rivalry: “All I can say to the fans is try to be nice. No harsh words.”


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