This is what September baseball is all about.
On Monday night, the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers will open up a huge four-game series at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Houston enters the day a game and a half ahead of the Rangers for first place in the AL West, and each club will kick off the series with its recently-acquired veteran lefty on the mound: Scott Kazmir for the Astros and Cole Hamels for the Rangers.
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Texas adjusted its rotation to make sure Hamels would toe the rubber for the first game of this set - that's how big this series might be in determining who wins the division.
Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle previewed the series and obtained this quote from Rangers general manager Jon Daniels: "It should be fun. For our club, the community, the fans, the state of Texas. It's the first time both teams are in this position, so I'm looking forward to it."
For Astros manager A.J. Hinch, his club comes in with that slight division lead thanks to a dramatic come-from-behind victory on Sunday over the Los Angeles Angels. Had the Astros lost that game, they'd have been swept in Anaheim and seen their division lead reduced to a half-game.
Hinch contextualized this Lone Star State showdown as follows when speaking with Drellich:
Many in the state of Texas may have turned their attention to the Cowboys and Texans now that the NFL season has begun, but the Rangers and Astros are about to begin a Texas baseball battle that hasn't been seen in quite some time, if ever.