The inaugural postseason meeting between these Texas rivals should be thrilling. Houston dominated Texas during the regular season, winning nine of 13 meetings against them and seizing control of the American League West on its final day of regular play. But Texas remains undaunted about playing in the Wild Card round – having defeated Tampa Bay and Baltimore with ease thus far this postseason.
The Astros breezed past Minnesota with ease in the opening round. Houston’s cast remains familiar: Justin Verlander returned via midseason trade; Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez stay at the core of its lineup; Ryan Pressly anchors a dynamic bullpen. In contrast to this familiar look though, Texas countered with star power from their side: Corey Seager made a $300 Million Contract look like an absolute steal while Max Scherzer may return from injury but even without his return Jordan Montgomery/Nate Eovaldi will be good, enough to give the Astros a serious run for their money.
To expect anything other than a Houston victory seems absurd in October. Although they faced off against Texas earlier in the season, nothing came close to seeing how quickly their offense and defense clicked like now. Jose Urquidy and Cristian Javier gave Houston fans hope that its starting rotation was not as tenuous as had initially appeared when the season concluded. Their performances during the ALDS indicated that Houston might not be as fragile as expected. Jose Abreu’s success in the ALDS and Yordan Alvarez’s continued excellence make the middle of Houston Astros’ order formidable. While Texas was able to navigate Tampa Bay’s and Baltimore’s lineups with relative ease, Houston presents an entirely different challenge, with playoff experience and power throughout their lineups that must all come together at once to claim their third consecutive pennant win.
The Rangers have been on fire since starting the playoffs. The Rangers have gone undefeated so far in this postseason and just easily dismantled the two winningest teams in the American League. Their vaunted offense is performing admirably, while their pitching has lived up to expectations so far – Jordan Montgomery and Nathan Eovaldi should begin as early starters. At the same time, Max Scherzer or Jon Gray could even return for extra depth during this series. Texas starters currently boast a 2.22 ERA, while their bullpen boasts 2.16. They could become difficult opponents to beat if their pitching continues exceeding expectations.
I know it’s crazy to pick against the Astros in October, but I will do it. We have seen many favorites fall this postseason, and I think the Astros are next. Rangers in six games.
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