A win tonight by Houston clinches the ALCS. The Texas Rangers were red-hot coming into the series, but the Astros doused their fire by winning three straight games. The teams head back to Minute Maid Park, where Houston still has not won a home ALCS game. Tune in to the action at 7:03 p.m. on FS1.
The veteran Nathan Eovaldi will take the bump for Texas. The 33-year-old last pitched in the ALCS Game 2 on October 16 when he surrendered three runs on five hits over six innings. In this elimination game, the Rangers wouldn’t want to hand the ball to anyone else. The righty has won all three of his 2023 postseason starts with a 2.87 ERA over those contests.
The key to a Texas win is keeping Yordan Álvarez in check. The 26-year-old is slashing an incredible .417/.450/.972 with a 1.422 OPS. I’m also going to give José Abreu some props here. While he struggled mightily during the 2023 regular season for Houston, in the playoffs, he has been worth every penny of the three-year, $58.5 million contract he signed with them last offseason. He is slashing .257/.333/.629 with a .962 OPS so far in the postseason, with five home runs and 17 RBIs. Of course, this does not shock White Sox fans, as Pito has always shone brightly on the big stage. It pains me to have to stomach the Astros winning anything, but kudos to José because he’s earned it.
To grab a road win, Texas needs to get more production from some of their big bats, including Marcus Semien and Mitch Garver. Both players had solid regular seasons, collectively smashing 48 dingers, but they have yet to generate much offense in the playoffs, hitting .159 and .222, respectively, with one bomb.
Framber Valdez gets the ball tonight for the Astros. The lefthander is struggling in the playoffs this year, owning an 11.57 ERA and losing both of his prior starts. The poor performance is out of character for the 26-year-old as he was incredible in the 2022 postseason, going 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA. Houston must also breakthrough and use the home field to their advantage. They have only claimed one postseason victory at Minute Maid this year. The Rangers, however, are 6-0 on the road.
The starting lineup for the Rangers:
The starting lineup for the Astros: