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ALCS Game 1 Open Thread

The all-Texas ALCS starts tonight

ALCS Workout
Dusty Baker’s Astros will be trying to punch another ticket to the World Series.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

I had tickets for this game, if it had been in Baltimore. I’m sure it would have been the most fun I ever had on a cool night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards just to be there. I’ve never been to an Orioles LCS game. Maybe next year.

The postseason rolls on whether we here in Birdland are ready for it to do so or not. Sunday night brings the start of the all-Texas ALCS, in which the Rangers will be playing the Astros. In the regular season, it was not an especially even fight, with Houston going 9-4 in those games and outscoring the Rangers by 19 runs. Even so, it took until the final day of the season for the Astros to take the AL West - and that only because of the new head-to-head tiebreaker that removes Game 163 scenarios.

It seems like this should be a good series, if you can bring yourself to pay attention to it. Maybe it will turn out that way and it will go seven games. Maybe somebody’s gonna sweep the other team and it won’t be all that interesting. You never know.

Rangers lineup

  1. Marcus Semien - 2B
  2. Corey Seager - SS
  3. Mitch Garver - DH
  4. Adolis García - RF
  5. Evan Carter - LF
  6. Jonah Heim - C
  7. Nathaniel Lowe - 1B
  8. Josh Jung - 3B
  9. Leody Taveras - CF

Jordan Montgomery gets the Game 1 start for Texas. He was very good in the wild card game against the Rays, and not particularly good in the division series against the Orioles.

I’m still bummed the Orioles are out of the postseason, but that has not resulted in me being mad at these Rangers in any way. It’s an interesting team, getting contributions from big money guys in Semien and Seager but also in freshly-arrived young guys like Carter, and random veteran contributors like Garver.

This franchise has never won a World Series and has not played in one since 2011. From that standpoint, they would certainly make for a much more interesting AL representative for the trophy than the Astros would.

Astros lineup

  1. Jose Altuve - 2B
  2. Alex Bregman - 3B
  3. Yordan Alvarez - LF
  4. José Abreu - 1B
  5. Kyle Tucker - RF
  6. Chas McCormick - LF
  7. Mauricio Dubón - CF
  8. Jeremy Peña - SS
  9. Martín Maldonado - C

With the obvious understanding that Astros manager Dusty Baker has 2,237 more MLB wins under his belt than me (2,183 regular season plus 54 postseason), I am mighty puzzled as to why the .680 OPS Abreu is in the cleanup spot or why the .606 OPS Maldonado is in the lineup at all.

I gather that Astros fans have been disappointed to see so much Maldonado and so little of the better-hitting and younger catcher Yainer Diaz. I don’t have much sympathy over their distress.

The Game 1 starting pitcher for Houston is Justin Verlander. He’s 40 now. He won the Cy Young last year and was still pretty good this year, even as his season started on the underachieving Mets before a midseason trade reunited him with the franchise where he’d already had so much later-career success.