4 ways the Astros could blow it and lose to the Rangers in the ALCS

The ALCS between the Astros and Rangers starts in just a matter of hours. What could possibly go wrong?
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four
Division Series - Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Four / David Berding/GettyImages
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Houston's pitching staff has to be at their best to hold the Rangers' offense in check

The Astros' pitching staff overall is a strength in this ALCS matchup. Jordan Montgomery has been extremely good for Texas, but the Astros have to feel pretty good about having Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, and Cristian Javier available to them to start in this series. Among the teams still in the playoffs, only the Phillies have a trio of starters that can compare to Houston among starting pitching staffs.

However, they will not have much room for error against this Rangers offense. Texas ranked third in all of baseball in 2023 by fWAR at 33.3, fourth in team wRC+ at 114, and all of that was before Evan Carter decided to start his reign of terror in the playoffs. Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Josh Jung, Adolis Garcia, and Carter are all guys that can singlehandedly take over a game at the plate.

Containing that offense has to be the top priority for the Astros going into the series. It is certainly worth noting that Houston has done a good job of that this season as going 9-4 against a team in a season doesn't happen by accident. However, the playoffs are a very different environment than the regular season and the pressure has claimed more than a few teams over the years. Fortunately for the Astros, this rotation has plenty of experience in these sorts of must-win games.