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ALCS Preview — Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers

The Battle of Texas commences Sunday at 7:15 PM CT.

MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The battle for the American League is also the Battle for Texas. The Rangers and Astros have seven games to see who gets to four first.

Sunday at 7:15 PM CT, the Astros open the ALCS against the visiting Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Houston will host the first two, then the two will reconvene for at least two more (maybe three) at Globe Life Field. If needed, they’ll come back to MMP for games six and seven.

The Astros just defeated the Minnesota Twins in four games, three-games-to-one in the American League Division Series. Jose Urquidy earned the victory by striking out six over 5 23 innings. He gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Hector Neris, Bryan Abreu, and Ryan Pressly struck out eight of the 11 batters they collectively faced to nail it down. Michael Brantley and José Abreu went deep in the win, as the Astros only got six hits but made them count in the 3-2 win.

The Rangers got here by backing into the playoffs with the fifth seed despite losing three-of-four to the Mariners to close the regular season, then swept the Tampa Bays Rays in the Wildcard Series and the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS.

In the ALDS clinching 7-1 win over the Orioles, Nathan Eovaldi limited Baltimore to one run on five hits over seven innings. Corey Seager, Adolis García and Nathaniel Lowe went deep.

The last time Houston and Texas played against each other was a three-game series in early-September. Houston outscored the Rangers by a collective 39-10 score, sweeping Texas and hitting 16 home runs.

In the meantime, the National League Championship Series will commence tomorrow between a pair of underdogs. The Philadelphia Phillies will play the Arizona Diamondbacks in a best-of-seven series of their own, between Citizen Banks Park and Chase Field.

For you history fans, this time last season, the Astros demolished the New York Yankees in four games to advance to the 2022 World Series.


According to FanGraphs, Houston is 60.8 percent likely to win the ALCS, and has a 33.6 percent of being the first repeat World Series Champion this millenium.

Gametimes and likely starting pitchers

I used creative license after game three to make my best guesses based on the past few weeks of these two teams. I think Scherzer and Heaney are as likely to go three-four as they are to swap places, but the Astros rotation it seems is pretty much set.

Game One: Sunday 7:15 PM CT — Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.20) vs. Justin Verlander (13-8, 3.22)
Game Two: Monday 3:37 PM CT — Nathan Eovaldi (12-5, 3.63) vs. Framber Valdez (12-11, 3.45)
Game Three: Wednesday 7:03 PM CT — Cristian Javier (10-5, 4.56) vs. Max Scherzer (13-6, 3.77)
Game Four: Thursday 7:03 PM CT — Jose Urquidy (3-1, 5.29) vs. Andrew Heaney (10-6, 4.15)
Game Five (if necessary): Friday 4:07 PM CT — Justin Verlander (13-8, 3.22) vs. Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.20)
Game Six (if necessary): Sunday 7:03 PM CT — Nathan Eovaldi (12-5, 3.63) vs. Framber Valdez (12-11, 3.45)
Game Seven (if necessary): Monday 7:03 PM CT — Max Scherzer (13-6, 3.77) vs. Cristian Javier (10-5, 4.56)

The stakes couldn’t be higher for either team, literally. Only four teams left, and none of them have one of the four best regular season records. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that has never happened before. Even so, the Astros have had one of the two highest percent chance to win the championship since the field of 12 was set. I think it goes without saying that Houston needs to be careful here, and not swing at every pitch. Just because they annihilated Texas a month ago, doesn’t mean things will go the same this week. Underestimating your opponent seems to be the undoing of a lot of “favorites” this year.


Who’s Houston’s Game One hero?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    (56 votes)
  • 14%
    (35 votes)
  • 6%
    J Abreu
    (16 votes)
  • 16%
    (41 votes)
  • 6%
    (16 votes)
  • 2%
    (5 votes)
  • 17%
    King Tuck
    (42 votes)
  • 1%
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    Uncle Mike
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    Chazzy Fizz
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Yainer Diaz
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    B Abreu
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Hector Neris
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Someone else (leave in the comment section)
    (9 votes)
243 votes total Vote Now
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