Rangers vs. Astros ALCS Game 7, Starting Lineups & Pitching Game 2023

HOUSTON — The first six games of the American League Championship Series between the Astros and Rangers provided enough entertainment to cover a lot of October. There were heartbreakers, nail biters, heroic victories and crushing losses.

And there’s still one more to play.

This ALCS between the two Texas teams — call it the Lonestar Series, the Silver Boot, take your pick — has exceeded initial expectations since these clubs first met for Game 1 more than a week ago. The rivalry is very much alive. The intensity level is through the roof. Expect more of that tonight in a decisive winner-take-all Game 7 to decide the AL pennant. Christian Javier receives the ball for Houston; The Rangers will go with Max Scherzer.

“It’s tight,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said after Texas’ 9-2 win in Game 6. “You can’t get around it. People ask you, “Are you having fun?” Yes, it’s fun, you try to enjoy it, but it’s tense out there. That’s what I came back for, to be in this situation. It’s exciting. I’m proud of these guys, how they came here and put together a great ball game.”

In the home clubhouse, Astros players expressed confidence and optimism as they look ahead to Game 7. The home team has lost every game in the series, and Houston hopes to buck that trend.

“Minute Maid was rocking tonight,” Alex Bregman said. “It was great to see. We love playing here in front of our fans and we can’t wait to come here tomorrow.”

When is the match and how can I watch it?

Tonight’s game is live now, televised in the US on FOX and FS1.

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 Max Scherzer

Scherzer was rusty in Game 3 and his first start since mid-September, allowing five runs over four innings in the Rangers’ 8-5 loss. The stakes are significantly higher this time around, and Texas will need some version of the postseason Scherzer of years past. He has the experience – Game 7 will be his 29th postseason appearance – and has the record, having compiled a 3.80 ERA over those 28 games (23 starts). It will be Scherzer’s fifth game-winning postseason start, tying Roger Clemens and Gerrit Cole for the most all-time. Scherzer’s team won three of those starts, tied for most with Clemons, Charlie Morton and Brett Saberhagen.

Astros: RHP Christian Javier

“El Reptil” was the stud in his most recent outing in Game 3 of the ALCS, allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings with one walk and three strikeouts. Javier had his share of ups and downs during the regular season, but he is nearly unbeatable in the postseason. He has allowed two runs over 10 2/3 innings this year and has a career 2.08 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in the postseason. Javier was 10-5 with a 4.56 ERA over 31 regular season starts.

What are the starting lineups?

rangers: Bochy has been playing the bottom half of the lineup for the last few games of the ALCS, but with Javier on the mound and the Rangers back at Minute Maid Park, he opted to stick with rookie Evan Carter in the three hole, Mitch Garver in the five hole and Josh Jung and Leodi Taveras, who lead eight and nine places.

Astros: A game after his team was held to two runs and six hits by the Rangers on Sunday night, Astros manager Dusty Baker made several changes to the lineup for Game 7, moving Bregman and Jordan Alvarez to second and third in the lineup, respectively, while shifting Michael Brantley in fifth place. Chas McCormick wins the start at center against Mauricio Dubon.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?

Rangers: Not surprisingly, Bochy said everyone was ready for Game 7, even shortstop Andrew Heaney, who picked up his ninth win in Game 6 after the Rangers blew a seven-run lead. Josh Sborz and Jose Leclerc have had relatively heavy workloads, but Bochy won’t think twice about putting his best guys on the mound with the World Series on the line.

Astros: Bryan Abreu, one of Baker’s top relief pitchers, will be available, which was one of the biggest questions going into this game. Abreu appealed a two-game suspension handed down by MLB on Sunday for hitting Adolis Garcia with a pitch in Game 5, and although the suspension was upheld, it was pushed back to 2024. That means Abreu is an option out of the bullpen in a game 7, although he threw 20 pitches in one inning in Game 6. Beyond Abreu, anything will be up for grabs.

rangers: With 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: Garcia falls into the “hot” category, despite scoring in his first four at-bats in Game 6. Garcia had the swing of his life in at-bat #5, a grand slam that put the game out of reach for the Rangers to send this into Game 7. Garver was 3-for-4 with a double, a home run and two runs scored in Game 6.

Robbie Grossman was 0-for-2 with a strikeout in Game 6 to lower his postseason average to .111.

Astros: Alvarez was 2-for-3 in Game 6 and is batting .436 in the postseason. He recorded five consecutive multi-hit games, the longest multi-hit streak in Astros postseason history.

Jeremy Peña was 0-for-3 in Game 6 and is batting .194 this postseason. Kyle Tucker is batting .143 (5-for-35).

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