The regular season head-to-head results now mean nothing. The Astros and Rangers are squaring off in the postseason for the first time ever. The first to 4 wins in the Battle For Texas will advance to the World Series.
Houston is looking to advance to their fifth World Series in seven seasons. The Rangers are looking to return to the World Series for the first time since 2011.
With hostility over home run celebration antics, the Rangers refusal to switch home-and-home series with Houston in 2017 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and a battle for the AL West that came down to Game 162, there is no shortage of bad blood and subplots in this series. Game 1 is tonight with a 7:15 CT first pitch.
Justin Verlander, fresh off a dominating start in Game 1 of the ALDS, will toe the rubber for the Astros, while Jordan Montgomery will make the start for Texas.
Houston Astros lineup for ALCS Game 1 (October 15, 2023)
Here's the lineup Dusty Baker and the Astros are sending out for Game 1 this evening:
There aren't a ton of surprises in today's lineup. The Rangers opening with a lefty opened the door for some conversation around who would join Yordan Alvarez as the other half of the left field/DH platoon, but the rest was relatively straight forward.
Dusty Baker opted for Chas McCormick in left and Mauricio Dubón in center field behind Verlander. McCormick crushes lefties. He hit .325 with a 1.008 OPS against southpaws this season.
For as great as the professional hitter is against righties, Michael Brantley does have some struggles against lefties. In his career, Brantley hits only .270 with a .693 OPS.
McCormick is the better option assuming he gets at least two plate appearances against Montgomery, and Brantley gives Houston a fantastic bench bat if a pinch hitter is needed in the late innings.
With McCormick in left, Dubón will patrol center field, a familiar role for him with JV on the bump. Aside from Chas and Dubón, the rest was mostly as anticipated.
Jose Altuve obviously leads off, looking to continue his ascent up the all-time postseason home run leaderboards. Yordan Alvarez coming off of another historic showing in the ALDS, hits third. King Tuck will look to rebound from a poor showing in the ALDS while José Abreu looks to stay hot at the plate.
Tucker and Abreu flipped places in the order. Abreu moves up after going deep three times with eight RBI amidst Tucker's struggles.