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Gamethread: ALCS Game 2/NLCS Game 1

The Rangers and Diamondbacks look to remain undefeated while Philadelphia and Houston attempt to snag a win at home


The Texas Rangers sprung ahead with a 1-0 series lead against the Houston Astros on Sunday, looking to keep their win streak rolling in Game 2 Monday afternoon. On the east coast, the Philadelphia Phillies host the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the NLCS in tonight’s playoff nightcap.

ALCS Game 2: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros

It’s hard to find a hotter team right now than the Texas Rangers, who have yet to lose a game this postseason, with five of six taking place on the road. Only twice has their been teams that achieved this level of dominance — and not since the World Series-winning 2005 Chicago White Sox. Jordan Montgomery led Texas to a 2-0 victory in the ALCS opener on Sunday, and Nathan Eovaldi will look to exude his postseason expertise in Game 2.

In 13 career postseason games, Eovaldi has a 6-3 record, a 2.70 ERA, and has recorded 56 strikeouts in 56 2⁄3 innings — certainly not bad at all. He has reached or completed the seventh inning in both of his 2023 playoff starts, and has only allowed two runs on 11 hits. Eovaldi has a small sample size against the Astros this year — with a 4.32 ERA in 8 1⁄3 innings, allowing four earned runs. With the hot bats of Corey Seager, Adolis García, and Evan Carter, ideally the Rangers can provide the offensive support to take a two-game advantage up north to Arlington.

The Astros are well-versed in the ALCS, this being their seventh consecutive appearance and all, so no matter what happens, you really can’t ever count them out — especially with offensive weapons such as Yordan Álvarez and hot-hitting South Side legend, José Abreu.

Framber Valdez makes his second playoff start, and is hoping to at the very least perform better than his last outing against the Minnesota Twins, where he took a 6-2 loss, giving up five earned on seven hits. Walks were the main problem in his ALDS outing, though this was more of an outlier on his 2023 performance, considering he’s had an efficient 7.1% walk rate.

Catch all of the ALCS action on FOX at 3:37 p.m. CT — because of course it makes sense to air playoff games in the middle of the day on a Monday.

NLCS Game 1: Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies

In the NLCS series opener, the Zac Gallen and Zach Wheeler rubber match is sure to be must-see TV. Both have been great this postseason, and in his first two starts, Zac Gallen has posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 11 1⁄3 innings, and if he can limit free bases for the Phillies, he’s sure to be a tough match for the Philadelphia offense. Gallen finished the 2023 season with a 3.47 ERA, and sixth on the strikeout leader list with 220, a 26% strikeout rate.

The D-backs have had incredible run support on the offensive side of the ball, with the likely NL ROY winner, Corbin Carroll, putting up a truly remarkable performance slashing .412/.565/.824. THE MAN IS SLUGGING .824!!! Ketel Marte and Tommy Pham have also been essential for the first two series, both batting .318, and combining for 14 hits and 10 runs scored.

Zack Wheeler, however, has been outstanding. In his first two starts (13 innings), he has given up just two runs (2.08 ERA) and a 0.69 WHIP. He’s struck out 18 batters, averaging more than one K an inning, compared to just one walk across both starts. In his two regular-season starts against the D-backs, Wheeler has a 3.00 ERA from 12 hits and four earned runs in 12 innings. Arizona has been unstoppable so far in the postseason, scoring at least four runs in all five of their five postseason games, so Wheeler will have some work to do tonight.

Trea Turner and Bryce Harper have been insane in the playoffs, putting up incredible offensive numbers with a 1.455 OPS and 1.381 OPS, respectively, in 52 combined plate appearances. And let’s not forget Nick Castellanos demolishing home runs left and right — smashing four in the last two games. The Diamondbacks could possibly meet their match tonight, especially in an electric atmosphere in Philly.

Tune in to the game on TBS at 7:07 p.m. CT, a much more normal time!

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