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A surprising divisional round has turned the 2023 MLB postseason on its head. Three wildcard teams advanced to the League Championship Series, slated to start on Sunday. There is just one game on the schedule: a battle between AL West and Texas rivals, the Astros and Rangers.
While both pitchers will have their top arms on the mound tonight, we expect a lot of action to open the game. Both offenses have been firing on all cylinders in the postseason, with the Rangers averaging 6.4 runs and the Astros averaging 5.0. Both have been scoring runs early in their games, and the Astros and Twins series had a run scored in the first inning in all four games. These pitchers starting tonight are good but not great. However, these offenses are two of the best in baseball, and we think they will show it early tonight.
The Rangers will send Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.20 ERA) out to the mound tonight. The lefty turned his season around after being traded to Texas at the deadline and has become one of their most reliable arms. The veteran was fantastic against the Rays but was shelled by the Orioles last weekend. He allowed four earned runs on nine hits over four innings, with two runs in the first inning. Houston’s team is batting .270 against lefties this season, and we see them having the edge on Montgomery in the game’s opening frame.
The Astros will turn to Justin Verlander (13-8, 3.22) to start against Texas tonight. The veteran regressed a bit in 2023 but still had a strong season after being traded to Houston. He finished the season looking unhittable but will face a more formidable challenge tonight. The Rangers can get to Verlander early because of the top of their lineup. Leadoff man Marcus Semien has a .326 batting average and .535 slugging percentage over 43 at-bats against the ace. Corey Seager has a .250 average against Verlander, but he has been one of the better hitters in baseball all season, and that has continued into the playoffs. The shortstop has a .429 batting average and .857 slugging percentage in the postseason. That is a great 1-2 punch atop the Texas order, and we think it leads to a quick score.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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