The American League Championship Series has moved north of the 255 miles that stretch between Houston and Arlington. This All-Texas series between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros is at a confluence of calamity for the defending world champions. The Rangers have a 2-0 grip on the best-of-seven series, but the Astros have hope: they had the best road record in the AL this season.
The last time the Astros were in Arlington to face the Rangers in their ballpark, they outscored their hosts 39-10 in a three-game sweep. That was a little over a month ago. In the last four games between these in-state rivals at Globe Life Field, Houston has scored 51 runs. As a result, the ‘Stros understandably have confidence that wouldn’t normally exist in creatures facing a mortifying boot from the playoffs.
Series Schedule, TV Coverage of ALCS
- Game 1: Rangers 2, Astros 0
- Game 2: Rangers 5, Astros 4
- Game 3: Astros at Rangers, Oct. 18, 8:03 PM ET on FS1
- Game 4: Astros at Rangers, Oct. 19, 8:03 PM ET on FS1
- Game 5:* Astros at Rangers, Oct. 20, 7:07 PM ET on FS1
- Game 6:* Rangers at Astros, Oct. 22, 8:03 PM ET on FS1
- Game 7:* Rangers at Astros, Oct. 23, 8:03 PM ET, on FOX/FS1
The Astros and Rangers played each other 13 times in the 2023 season. Houston won the series, 9-4. The Astros are 37-14 against the Rangers in the last three seasons, dating back to 2021.
View analysis on this series from our initial series preview.
Pitching Matchup for Game 3
Cristian Javier (0.00 ERA, 9 K in 5 IP in Postseason) vs. Max Scherzer
Before the MLB season began, many experts would have predicted that Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander would be pitching in the postseason this October. But they wouldn’t have thought the Mets hurlers would do so for new and opposing teams. That’s the case after both of those future Hall of Famers were dealt at the trade deadline last July. We saw Verlander pitch well in Game 1, and Scherzer will start Game 3, coming back from a shoulder ailment.
There’s a mighty temptation to put this game in the win column for Texas with Scherzer on the hill. But, a check on recent PS history reveals that the ultra-intense flamethrower has been less Mad Max and more Sad Max in his last few playoff starts.
Last season in the NL Wild Card Game for the Mets, Scherzer gave up four home runs (!) and seven runs in less than five innings. In 2021 when he was a hired gun for the Dodgers, Max blew a two-run lead and was knocked out of the game in the fifth. In all, Scherzer has surrendered at least three runs in eight of his 22 PS starts. Take note: Scherzer has blown six leads of at least two runs in the postseason, which is the most in playoff history. Maybe intensity and October are like hot sauce and oil (or some Texas liquid analogy)?
Still, Scherzer will bring an intimidation factor to Wednesday night’s game. It just may be lost on these Astros, who pummeled Mad Max for three homers and seven runs in an early September game. Those jacks came off the lumber of Jose Abreu, Yordan Alvarez, and Michael Brantley. All three will be wielding “the old wagon tongue” in Game 3.
Lost in the Mad Max Madness, is Javier, who simply keeps pitching like a marvel in October. In three postseason starts, the quiet Dominican righty has allowed ONE HIT in 16 1/3. He’s struck out 23 in that stretch and has also been the primary orchestrator of a no-hitter in last year’s World Series. More people should be talking about this guy. The Rangers might be muttering about him a lot in Game 3.
Matchups to Watch
- Jose Altuve is 2-for-20 lifetime off Scherzer
- Michael Brantley has hit like Ty Cobb vs. Scherzer (.367 in more than 50 PA)
- Yordan Alvarez has a HR and is batting .400 against Scherzer in 5 PA
- Adolis Garcia is 2-for-17 with 6 K’s against Cristian Javier
- Corey Seager has a pair of HR off Cristian Javier in 20 PA
- Marcus Semien is 4-for-18 with 6 strikeouts vs. Javier
Stat of the Day
The Astros have won their last four road postseason games, outscoring opponents 20-5.
More Baseball: World Series Odds | Best MLB Betting Sites | MLB MVP Odds
Astros vs. Rangers Game 3 Prediction
The Rangers have a 2-0 lead, but it feels like they are more worried about the Astros than Houston is about them. That’s called “been there, done that.” Plus, the Astros have owned Texas in Arlington recently. We may be stubborn, but we can’t see the Astros losing Game 3. Look for a close game secured by defense, bullpen, and late runs.
ALCS Game 3 Same-Game Parlay
Odds are +3500 from BetMGM on this four-leg parlay:
- Cristian Javier to Record 5+ Strikeouts
- Michael Brantley To Hit a Home Run*
- Evan Carter To Record a Hit
- Adolis Garcia To Record a Hit
*Brantley is hitting .367 with 3 HR and a 1.144 OPS in 54 matchups against Scherzer.
Be correct on all four wagers, and you will collect $3,500 for every $100 you bet. Or bet $20 and win $700.