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OAK@HOU: Feldman fans five over seven innings of work

HOUSTON -- The Rangers pitching woes continue as they get ready to face former teammate Scott Feldman of the Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park. Miles Mikolas was supposed to pitch against Feldman but was scratched with shoulder fatigue.

The Rangers are calling up left-hander Robbie Ross Jr. from Triple-A Round Rock to start. Mikolas has been bothered by some fatigue since throwing a bullpen earlier this week and the Rangers announced the change after Friday's 13-6 victory.

"He should be fine," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We're just going to give him a break."

This will be the third time that Ross has been up with the Rangers. Ross is 1-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 starts for the Rangers and 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA in nine relief appearances. He was 5-4 with a 4.33 ERA in nine starts and three relief appearances at Round Rock. He threw 30 pitches in relief of Derek Holland on Thursday, but the Rangers think he should be fine for Saturday against the Astros.

"He's good to go," Washington said. "We will get as much out of him as we can. We just want him to come up and throw the ball in the strike zone. Make things happen. Make them swing the bat."

The last time Feldman pitched against his old teammates, he beat them 4-3 on Aug. 8 with Mikolas on the mound for the Rangers. It was the first time Feldman had beaten Texas, and with the win, he had beaten every team in the American League. In that game, Feldman, the Astros' Opening Day starter, allowed only two runs and six hits in seven innings.

The Rangers lineup, clobbered by injuries, is a little different than the one that Feldman was used to seeing behind him when he was pitching for them.

"They're still going to put out a lineup tomorrow that's going to be tough, and I still have to make my pitches," Feldman said. "They [Rangers] had an impressive run there for a few years. They got a lot of injuries, is the biggest thing. Most of their rotation has been injured. They've had tough luck with injuries. It's one of the worst luck I've seen with injuries."

Astros: Washington says Astros deserve Boot
The Silver Boot is awarded each year to the season series winner between the Rangers and the Astros. The Rangers have won it every year that Ron Washington has been manager. But Washington conceded that the Silver Boot is going to reside in Houston for the next year.

"Just because it got away this year, doesn't mean it can't come back," Washington said. "They outplayed us this year. Those guys are a better team. They are not a doormat anymore."

The Rangers were 36-7 against the Astros over the past five season and Astros manager Bo Porter admitted his team was tired of getting thumped by their Texas rivals. They are quite happy to take possession of the Silver Boot.

"It's a good thing to get," Porter said.

Rangers: New record for most players used
The Rangers tied a Major League record when Ryan Rua started at first base on Friday. He was the 59th player used by the Rangers this season, tied for the most ever by one team in Major League history.

The Rangers have used 36 pitchers, one short of the record for one season. They will tie that -- and break the record for most players used -- at least by Tuesday when Derek Holland makes his first start.

"It has given the organization an opportunity to look at players," Washington said. "[General manager] Jon Daniels went out and got what was available. Nobody was going to give us any players. At least we know what they're capable of giving is and we can use those assets. These guys are busting their tails for me, we're just not getting it done."

Worth noting:
• Rangers infielder J.P. Arencibia is engaging in a war with Orbit, the Astros mascot. Arencibia tweeted a photo-shopped picture of Orbit in a Dallas Cowboys jersey and pom-poms and wrote TRAITOR on it. Orbit retaliated by altering a photo of Arencibia in a Texans outfit but also wearing a long-haired wig. The photo was displayed on the Minute Maid Park scoreboard while Arencibia was taking batting practice.

• Astros infielder Jose Altuve, who leads the league in hitting, is 0-for-2 in his career against Ross. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, who is in the hunt for his first batting title, is 6-for-27 against Feldman in his career.

• Astros designated hitter Chris Carter has 12 home runs and 29 RBIs for August. He is tied with Jeff Bagwell (2000) and Ty Wigginton (2003) for most home runs in August by an Astros player. His 29 RBIs are five behind Bagwell.

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