What to expect from the Rangers-Astros ALCS series
It’s all about Texas in this year’s ALCS. The Rangers enter this series at 5-0, but they will face an Astros team that has historically looked unstoppable in the playoffs.
The Astros’ win over the Rangers in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series on Wednesday night put Houston back in the series, with the Texans taking a 2-1 lead heading into Game 4 on Thursday.
Houston got to Max Scherzer early, holding on for an 8-5 win at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Yordan Alvarez’s postseason offense continued with two RBI, and he is now hitting .407 with six home runs and 10 RBI in seven games.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney starts for the Rangers, while right-hander Jose Urquidi leads the Astros in a pivotal game.
Follow for updates from Game 4:
ARLINGTON, Texas — Chas McCormick hit a two-run home run that extended the Houston Astros’ lead to 9-3 in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 4, but his reliever Will Smith hit Thursday night may have long-lasting effects.
By taking the game from a four-run Astros lead to a six-run bulge, McCormick may have ensured the Astros stayed away from their best relievers — Hector Neres, Brian Abreu and closer Ryan Pressley — after they all worked it out in Game 3.
Now, should the Astros hold on and level the series 2-2, everyone will be rested for the crucial Game 5 at Globe Life Field on Friday afternoon.
Phil Maton came on in relief in the seventh inning, with the Astros needing nine more innings to tie the game.
– Gaby Lakis
ARLINGTON, Texas – Cody Bradford is a young player in the game, a tall left-hander who competes with a 91 mph fastball and a changeup he uses often. Despite this disappointing repertoire, he gamely competed in the most undesirable positions manager Bruce Bochy could put him in: bases loaded, and Yordan Alvarez at the plate.
Bradford escaped that spot, yielding only a sacrifice fly after nine pitches at bat.
But Jose Abreu made him pay.
Abreu followed with a line drive, three-run home run off Bradford, giving the Astros a 7-3 lead in the fourth inning of ALCS Game 4.
One might be tempted to call Abreu’s shot a “game breaker,” but there is no game breaker in this one, not with the Astros needing to cover 18 more runs and with the three highest-leverage relievers dwindling after a Game 3 showing.
The road trip is moving forward.
– Gaby Lakis
ARLINGTON, Texas – Corey Seager tied Game 4 of the ALCS on a home run and had no business out of the park.
But Seager is different, and not only did he hit a 92-mph fastball from Houston Astros outfielder Jose Urquidi, he drove it to the opposite field, 401 feet away at Astros Stadium to tie the game 3-3.
After two more singles, Urquidy exited the game, combining with Rangers starter Andrew Heaney to score just nine runs.
Now, all is well with six turns to play.
– Gaby Lakis
ARLINGTON, Texas – Just two innings into Game 4, it’s pretty clear this contest will be decided by the relievers.
Adolis Garcia hit a leadoff homer in the bottom of the second and the Texas Rangers scratched another run off Houston Astros starter José Urquidy on a Nathaniel Lowe double and Josh Jung’s sacrifice fly, cutting the Astros’ lead to 3-2.
The Astros chased down Rangers starter Andrew Heaney with two outs in the first, and the Rangers nearly returned the favor in the second, with Houston warming up Rene Stanek. But with two out, Urquidy limited the hot-hitting Jung with a sacrifice fly and struck out Leody Taveras to snap the tying run in the second.
– Gaby Lakis
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Houston Astros continue to blow up the Texas Rangers’ postseason plans.
With a 2-1 lead entering Game 4 of the ALCS, the Rangers again successfully targeted Andrew Heaney and Dane Dunning, going lefty as long as possible before handing off to his righty counterpart.
But Heaney never got off the ground.
Houston hit him with a double and a single and Alex Bregman’s triple double before he could score an out, and the Astros chased him from the game before he could complete the first inning. Dunning was relieved and kept the game under control: 3-0 Astros before the Rangers could even get the bat going.
Heaney and Dunning combined for the Rangers’ most important win of the postseason: a 3-2 win in Game 1 of the ALDS in Baltimore, in which Heaney retired the first 11 batters before Dunning and four other relievers finished the job. The Rangers swept the ALDS in three games and won the first two games in the ALCS.
But now, awaiting Jose Urquidi’s outcome as the Astros’ starter, this series appears destined to return to Houston for Game 6.
– Gaby Lakis
The game is scheduled to begin on Thursday night 8:03 PM ETis broadcast Fox Sports 1 or Streaming through fuboTV.
ARLINGTON, Texas – Lacking his usual command of his pitches after returning from a 37-day layoff due to a shoulder strain, Max Scherzer had five runs in four innings and was no match for the Astros’ talented outfielder, Cristian Javier, who got a shutout. A no-hitter in the fifth inning Wednesday night at Globe Life Field.
The Astros won Game 3 of the American League Championship Series 8-5, and while they still trail 2-1 in the Series, they will likely feel better about the next question facing the Rangers.
What will we do tomorrow?
Texas stormed the AL Wild-Card Series and Division Series and took the first two games of the ALCS because veteran veteran Nathan Eovaldi and left fielder Jordan Montgomery were able to start five of their seven games.
But the best-of-seven format leaves nowhere to hide on the roster. And Scherzer’s gambit failed miserably, as he threw a pair of simulated games, getting as many as 69 pitches before the Rangers tapped their famously tough bullpen to get started.
His churning stomach begs the question: Are Rangers, unbeaten for 24 hours, suddenly in trouble?
“No one said it was going to be easy,” says Rangers designated hitter Mitch Garver. “And certainly no one thought we were going to come out and win all the way.”
“There will be some bumps.”
Starting pitcher: RHP Jose Urquide
- Jose Altuve (R) 2B
- Mauricio Dupont (R) CF
- Alex Bregman (R) 3B
- Yordan Alvarez (left) Dr
- Jose Abreu (right) 1b
- Kyle Tucker (left)
- RF Chase McCormick (R) LF
- Jeremy Pena (R) SS
- Martin Maldonado (R) C
Starting pitcher:LHP Andrew Heaney
- Marcus Semien (R) 2B
- Corey Seager (L) SS
- Evan Carter (left) LF
- Adulis Garcia (R) RF
- Mitch Garver (R) DH
- Jonah Heim (S) c
- Nathaniel Lowe (left) 1b
- Josh Jung (R)
- 3B Leudi Taveras (S) CF
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