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ALCS Game 1. October 15, 2023, 7:15 CT. Rangers @ Astros

Justin Verlander: Of course.

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros workouts Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Seven ALCS’s. Four World Series. Two World Championships in the last seven years.

Today begins the quest for a fifth AL Pennant and third trophy.

Justin Verlander, who led the pitching staff in their playoff runs in five of those seven years, takes the mound against the Rangers’ Jordan Montgomery.

The Astros’ ALCS roster is little changed from the ALDS group, except pitcher Ronel Blanco replaces outfielder Jake Meyers. A little surprising to this observer. Your best defensive outfielder and baserunner left off the roster. And some pop in his bat, too. Hmmm.

The Rangers get key pitching pieces back, Max Scherzer and Jon Gray.

For a more in-depth insight into this series, check out Kevin’s analysis HERE.

Here are the lineups. Game televised nationally on Fox. With a left-handed pitcher, no Brantley. Tucker is pushed down to fifth again. Is it because he’s been a little cold, and Jose Abreu red-hot? I liked the two lefties back to back. Opposing managers always fall for the trap of bringing a lefty to pitch to them, which seems to always backfire.