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ALCS Game 2/NLCS Game 1 Open Thread

The Rangers took an early lead in the ALCS, while the upstart D-Backs and Phillies kick off their series later tonight.

Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Two Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Orioles-less playoff baseball rolls on, so you, like O’s manager Brandon Hyde, can sit and watch the proceedings “a little ticked off.” Game 2 of the ALCS kicks off at 4:37 ET this afternoon, and Game 1 of the NLCS starts at 8:07 ET tonight.

ALCS Game 2, 4:37 ET

RHP Nathan Eovaldi (2-0, 1.32 ERA, 15 K) v. LHP Framber Valdez (0-1, 10.38 ERA, 5 K)

Although the Houston Astros had handled the all-Texas series during the regular season (9-4 record, with a +19-run differential), the 2023 postseason keeps defying the expected outcomes. Last night, the Rangers continued to punch above their weight and to play well in other people’s stadiums, stealing a 2-0 win, their sixth in a row. Although Rangers No. 1 Jordan Montgomery looked strictly average against the Orioles, allowing five runs in his Game 2 ALDS start, he was lights out last night, allowing no runs on five hits over 6.1 innings.

Game 2 will see the Rangers send out right-hander Nathan Eovaldi against Astros left-hander Framber Valdez. In 13 career games in the playoffs, Eovaldi has a 2.70 ERA, while Valdez was a postseason ace for Houston in their World Championship run, going 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four starts. But he’s had a rocky 2023 postseason thus far, as the 10.38 ERA attests.

Facing a southpaw in Valdez, Texas will sit rookie Evan Carter and use Robbie Grossman in left field, instead. Otherwise, this is a pretty similar lineup to Game 1. Against the right-hander Eovaldi, Houston has moved up Kyle Tucker and inserted outfielders Michael Brantley and Chas McCormick.

Rangers lineup

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

Astros lineup

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

NLCS Game 1, 8:07 ET

RHP Zack Wheeler (1-0, 2.08 ERA, 18 K) v. RHP Zac Gallen (2-0, 3.18 ERA, 8 K)

Meanwhile, on the National League side of things, the battle of two Wild Cards kicks off tonight at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies will try to reach the World series for the second straight year, and maybe do better. For the sixth-seeded D-backs, meanwhile, it’s their first NLCS since 2007.

These two teams have never faced each other in the playoffs. During the regular season, Philadelphia took the season series, 4-3, outscoring Arizona 44-34. Tonight’s pitching matchup should be well worth watching, with two Cy Young contenders facing off, the Phillies Zack Wheeler (1-0, 2.08, 18 K in the postseason) and D-backs ace Zac Gallen (2-0, 3.18 ERA, 8 K).

Phillies lineup

1. Kyle Schwarber - DH
2. Trea Turner - SS
3. Bryce Harper - 1B
4. Alec Bohm - 3B
5. Bryson Stott - 2B
6. JT Realmuto - C
7. Nick Castellanos - RF
8. Brandon Marsh - LF
9. Johan Rojas - CF

D-backs lineup

1. Corbin Carroll - RF
2. Ketel Marte - 2B
3. Alex Pham - DH
4. Christian Walker - 1B
5. Gabriel Moreno - C
6. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. - LF
7. Alek Thomas - CF
8. Evan Longoria - 3B
9. Rafael Perdomo - SS