On Sunday night at Minute Maid Park, the American League Championship Series between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers gets underway with Game 1. The Astros and Rangers wound up tied in the regular-season standings, but Houston took the AL West title via tiebreaker. That means they enjoyed a first-round bye before downing the Twins in four games in the ALDS to get here. The Rangers, meantime, swept the Rays in two games in the Wild Card Series and then swept the Orioles in three games in the ALDS. The reigning-champion Astros are participating in their seventh straight ALCS, while Texas is here for the first time since 2011.
During the regular season, the Astros won nine of 13 head-to-head meetings with the Rangers and out-scored them 93-74 in those contests. While both teams had 90-72 records, the Rangers had the superior run differential (plus-165 to Houston’s plus-129).
You can view the full postseason schedule by clicking here, and here’s the 2023 playoff bracket. Now, let’s get to the important stuff for the ALCS.
How to watch Game 1
Date: Sunday, Oct. 15 | Time: 8:15 p.m.
Location: Minute Maid Park (Houston, Texas)
TV channel: Fox | Live stream: fubo (try for free)
Starting pitchers: Justin Verlander (13-8, 3.22 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.20 ERA)
Live updates: Follow along
Astros vs. Rangers odds
Game 1 odds: HOU -140 | TEX +118 | O/U: 9.0
Series odds: HOU -145 | TEX +125
The stakes are indeed high in this best-of-seven series to determine who represents the AL in the World Series. Across all best-of-seven postseason series in MLB history, the winner of Game 1 goes on to take the series 64.4% of the time. While it may or may not be worth noting, the Astros this season were below .500 in home games. Verlander, who’s been in ace form lately, gets the start in front of a fully rested Houston bullpen.
Verlander and the Astros’ pen, which is much better than Texas’ pen, limits the damage against a powerhouse Texas offense. Meantime, the Astros — no slouch with the bats themselves — pounce on an uncertain Texas pitching situation. Pick: Astros 7, Rangers 4.