Rangers vs. Astros ALCS Game 6 Starting Lineups and Pitching Game 2023

HOUSTON — After an emotional back-and-forth affair at Globe Life Field on Friday night, the American League Championship Series returned to Houston with the Astros taking a 3-2 lead over the Rangers.

The Astros came to Arlington and won all three games after dropping the first two at home. Including the regular season, Houston has won eight straight games at Globe Life Field and nine of 10 overall. During the eight-game winning streak, the Astros have outscored the Rangers 84-41.

Houston’s 5-4 win in Game 5 was capped by a homer by Jose Altuve in the top of the ninth inning.

“Everybody was so fired up,” Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said. “Obviously we knew the game wasn’t over because they have a really good team out there and as you saw, they got two guys on in the ninth. Everyone was just super excited and happy to get some runs in there off a really tough pitcher [José Leclerc]. He is one of the best pitchers in the world. Just try to stay focused and get three outs.”

The Rangers are one game out of the playoffs and two wins away from their first World Series appearance since 2011. After opening the postseason with seven straight wins, including two at Minute Maid Park to open the ALCS, they found themselves on the brink of elimination after three straight home losses.

“We’ve already shown this postseason that we’re not shy about going into Houston and winning,” Rangers catcher Jonah Heim said. “So it’s going to be a tough Game 6 and we’re going to try to get to a Game 7.”

When is the match and how can I watch it?

Sunday’s game will be televised in the US on FS1 at 8:03 PM ET/7:03 PM CT.

All series are available in the US on MLB.TV with authentication to a participating pay TV provider. Games are available live internationally (except Canada). Full game archives will be available approximately 90 minutes after the end of the game.

Who are the starting pitchers?

Rangers: RHP Nathan Eovaldi

The Rangers need two wins and will turn to one of their most reliable weapons to get their first. Eovaldi earned his nickname “Big Game Nate” with his memorable postseason games, and he’ll need to make another one in Game 6. He allowed three runs in six innings in his Game 2 win against the Astros in Houston, striking out one and strike out nine.

Astros: LHP Framber Valdez

Valdes hasn’t had a typically strong season and his two postseason appearances have been subpar. But he’s had some great games for Houston in his career, and there’s no time like the present to get back on track and get a big win. Valdez allowed five runs (four earned) over 2 2/3 innings on seven hits and one out with six strikeouts in Game 2. He allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in two postseason starts. Valdez is 0-3 with a 9.92 ERA and 2.14 WHIP in his last four starts, including the regular season. He has allowed 18 earned runs and 20 hits in 16 1/3 innings in that span.

What are the expected starting lineups?

rangers: Bruce Bochy opted to stick with rookie sensation Evan Carter in the three hole in Games 4-5. He might not get it going against Valdez in Game 6. But Bochy is known to stick with what works, and the Rangers’ offense provided some big hits in Friday’s loss.

Astros: Manager Dusty Baker said before Game 5 that Michael Brantley would return to the starting lineup in Game 6, meaning Mauricio Dubon would return to the bench. Whether Baker decides to bring Kyle Tucker, who had two hits in Game 5, back into the batting order remains to be seen.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?

Rangers: The bullpen should be fairly rested for Game 6 with a day off on Saturday. The Rangers used just three relievers — Leclerc, Aroldis Chapman and Josh Sborz — in Game 5, but Bochy will likely come as close as possible to emptying the tank in a potential clincher for the Astros.

Astros: Baker may have a short leash on Valdez after struggling in Game 2. If Valdez doesn’t go deep into the game, the long relief options are Hunter Brown, JP France and Ronel Blanco. Brown threw three innings of relief in Game 4 and should be able to handle a few innings on Sunday. All three of Baker’s high-leverage players — Hector Neris, Brian Abreu and Ryan Pressley — pitched in Game 5, though Abreu threw just six pitches before being ejected and Pressley threw 24 in two innings. It’s hard to imagine Pressley not getting the ball with a chance to close out the AL pennant.

rangers: With Max Scherzer and John Gray activated from the disabled list for the ALCS, the Rangers are in relatively good health at this point. Reliever Jonathan Hernández was ruled out again with a right lat strain, an injury Bochy said was suffered during Game 162, when Hernández threw a perfect two-hit inning in Texas’ 1-0 loss at Seattle.

Astros: Relief pitcher Kendall Graveman is battling right shoulder discomfort and is not on the ALCS roster.

Who’s hot, who’s not?

rangers: Adolis Garcia has hit in nine of 10 postseason games, and his four homers lead all Rangers in the postseason. Nathaniel Lowe has two homers in the postseason (including a solo shot in the fifth inning of Game 5) and has reached base safely in nine of 10 games.

Marcus Semien was 0-for-5 in Game 5 and is hitting .159 this postseason.

Astros: Jose Altuve’s legendary postseason stature was cemented long before Game 5, but he certainly added to it with a three-run homer in the ninth that gave the Astros the lead. It was his 26th home run of the postseason and third this year. Kyle Tucker, who has struggled mightily throughout the postseason, was 2-for-3 with a double in Game 5.

Jeremy Peña was 0-for-3 in Game 5 and is hitting .212 this postseason.

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