The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers will face off in the 2023 American League Championship Series, with Game 1 set for Sunday at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Astros are the defending World Series champions, seeking their fifth ALCS title in the past seven years.
The Rangers are making their first ALCS appearance since 2011.
Both teams finished the regular season with a record of 90-72, but the Astros won the AL West division title due to their 9-4 head-to-head record against the Rangers. The Astros also have a slight edge in the pitching matchup for Game 1, as Justin Verlander is scheduled to start for Houston. Verlander is 10-2 with a 2.03 ERA against the Rangers since 2018.
The Astros have a deep and balanced lineup led by Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman. Collectively, Houston was third in the AL, averaging 5.1 runs per game. The Rangers also have a potent offense, with Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Adolis García, and Mitch Garver leading the way.
During the regular season, Texas led the AL with 5.5 runs per game score. The Rangers are also leading all teams during the postseason with 6.4 runs per game offensively, while the Astros are fourth averaging 5.0
The Astros’ bullpen has the advantage, led by closer Ryan Pressly along with setup men Rafael Montero and Héctor Neris. Collectively, Houston’s bullpen finished fourth in the American League with a 3.56 ERA during the regular season.
The Rangers’ bullpen was one of the team’s weaknesses, ranking 11th in the AL with a 4.77 ERA.
Our ALCS Game 1 lineup.
— Houston Astros (@astros) October 15, 2023
Overall, the Astros are the favorites to win the ALCS. They had the deeper pitching staff for most of the season and the more experienced lineup when it comes to the postseason. However, the Rangers are a dangerous team and a perfect 5-0 in the postseason during the current run.
Texas has gotten postseason dominance from Nathan Eovaldi so far. The veteran is however just 2-3 with a 6.14 ERA against Houston since 2020. There are have been reports stating that Ma Scherzer may be able to return for this series and help the Texas cause.
The Texas bullpen has also performed well with a 2.16 ERA during this postseason, which is fourth in MLB, while the Astros are only ninth of the 12 teams with a 3.60 ERA.
1) ALCS Series Outcome: Astros -1.5 Games 138
I expect Texas to be competitive, but Houston is 37-14 against Texas since 2021, and I expect their experience to be too much. Houston likely wins this in six games.
2) ALCS MVP Jose Altuve 800
Altuve hit seven home runs in only eight games against the Rangers this season and has excellent value to win the series MVP award. Altuve won this award before in 2019.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) October 15, 2023
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| Title: Rangers vs Astros 2023 ALCS Preview and Predictions
| Author: Max Heering
| Date: Oct 15, 2023