The ping-ponging ALCS between the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros comes to a head tonight with a Game 7 that will decide which Texas team goes on to the World Series. After falling behind in the series 3-2, the Rangers are coming off an explosive night in Houston that featured three home runs, including a ninth-inning grand slam off the bat of Adolis Garcia to put the Rangers up 9-2.
This ALCS has had it all — moon shots, aces excelling on the mound, maybe-intentional hit-by-pitches and suspensions — and now it's up to a fiery Rangers team to seal the deal and keep the Astros out of the World Series for the first time in three years. Max Scherzer takes the mound again for Texas after a rough outing in Game 3, when he gave up five hits and five runs over four innings.
Texas Rangers lineup for ALCS Game 7 (October 23, 2023)
Texas' lineup for Game 7 looks much the same as it did for Game 6, with the only exception being the return of Evan Carter starting in the three spot, taking over from Robbie Grossman. Marcus Semien still bats leadoff, and the red hot Adolis Garcia will be hoping to do as good of a job at clean up as he did last night.
Marcus Semien (R)
Corey Seager (L)
Evan Carter (L)
Adolis Garcia (R)
Mitch Garver (R)
Jonah Heim (S)
Nathaniel Lowe (L)
Josh Jung (R)
Leody Taveras (S)
Carter has been one of many spark plugs for the Rangers; with an appearance off the bench in Game 6, his single and subsequent steal of second base lead to one of Texas' nine runs after an RBI double by Mitch Garver, who also went 3-4 last night with a home run. Carter, along with Seager, Heim, Lowe, and Taveras, add lefty bats against probable Astros pitcher Cristian Javier who, while dominant in his postseason appearances, struggles more against lefties. The Rangers' lineup is awash with power — all but Semien have at least one home run this postseason — but, ultimately, it'll be up to Scherzer to return to form and keep an always dangerous Astros lineup at bay.
Texas is fighting for their first trip to the World Series in over 10 years, and trying to keep Houston from their second World Champions title in three. After bench-clearing incidents, outstanding performances on both sides of the plate throughout the postseason, and an all-around better performance this year than anyone could have expected, this ALCS Game 7 could end up being the perfect feather in the Rangers' cap.