Thursday, February 22, 2024
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MLB ALCS | Game 6 Preview: Texas Rangers (2-3) at Houston Astros (3-2)

Houston leads the series 3-2

TEXAS RANGERS NOTES:

WINS AND LOSSES: The Rangers have lost 3 consecutive games to the Astros in this ALCS, dropping to 7-3 in the 2023 postseason…the losses have snapped a franchise-best 7-G postseason win streak that covered this year’s ALWC G1-2 at TB, ALDS G1-2-3 at/vs. BAL, and ALCS G1-2 at HOU…it surpassed the previous longest postseason win streak in Rangers history, a 5-0 span in 2011 (ALDS G2-3-4 vs. TB + ALCS G1-2 vs. DET).

  • Texas has lost 3 straight games for the 1st time since a 0-4 span from 9/15-18…Texas had gone 16 days (10/2-17) without losing…the team had not lost in the postseason since 2016 ALDS G3 at TOR.
  • The Rangers’ 7 wins remain T2nd in MLB for the 2023 postseason, most among A.L. clubs (8-PHI, 7-TEX/ARI, 6-HOU).
  • The Rangers’ 7-G win streak was T5th-longest in MLB history in a single postseason, as only longer win streak in one year is 8 games, done 4 times by 2004 BOS, 2005 CWS, 2014 KC, and 2019 WSH.
  • The 2023 Rangers were just the 6th team in MLB history to win 7-or-more straight to open a postseason…the 7-0 run to open the 2023 postseason was T2nd-longest such win streak in MLB history, as only 2014 KC (8-0) had begun a postseason with a longer win streak.

THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER: Texas has opened this postseason with 6 consecutive road wins, just the 3rd time in MLB history that a team has
won its 1st 6+ road games in a postseason (see chart).

LONGEST ROAD WIN STREAKS TO BEGIN A POSTSEASON, MLB HISTORY
Win Streak Team Games
8 1996 NYY ALDS G3-4 at TEX, ALCS G3-4-5 at BAL, WS G3-4-5 at ATL
6 2005 CWS ALDS G3 at BOS, ALCS G3-4-5 at LAA, WS G3-4 at HOU
6 2023 TEX ALWC G1-2 at TB, ALDS G1-2 at BAL, ALCS G1-2 at HOU

  • The current 6-G road win streak is T8th-longest in MLB history, longest since Houston had a 7-G away win streak spanning 2019-20.
  • Of the 8 all-time instances of teams winning 5+ on road to begin a postseason, Texas owns 2 of the 8 (also 5-0 on road to open 2010 postseason: ALDS G1-2-5 and ALCS G3-4).
  • Rangers’ .545 (18-15) all-time postseason road record is the 2nd-highest away win pct. in MLB history (25+ G) to only NYY (.547, 117-97).

ALCS TRIP: The Rangers are in the ALCS for the 3rd time in franchise history…club won A.L. pennants in its previous 2 visits to the ALCS, 6-G series victories in 2010 vs. NYY and 2011 vs. DET…the Rangers’ 10-7 (.588) record in LCS play ranks 5th MLB history among teams with multiple appearances, best among any A.L. club in that category…this is the 1st time in 3 trips that the Rangers do not have home field advantage for the ALCS… this is the 5th time in franchise history for Texas to play a best-of-7 postseason series, going 2-2 in the previous 4 instances (won 2010-11 ALCS, lost 2010-11 WS)…TEX had home-field advantage in each of the 2 series wins, opening on the road for each of the WS defeats.

ALCS UPDATE: Houston has a 3-games-to-2 lead in this ALCS at 2-2, as the road team has won every game in this best-of-7 series thus far…some notes on the current situation ahead of Game 6:

  • Rangers are just 3rd team in MLB postseason history to fall behind 3-games-to-2 in a 7-G series after winning 1st 2 G on the road…the other
    instances both took place in the World Series: 1996 (NYY over ATL, 4-2 after losing 1st 2 G at home) and 2019 (WSH over HOU, 4-3, all wins at
    MMP).
  • In any best-of-7 postseason series that was tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 has gone on to win the series 46 out of 65 times (70.7%), including 15 of 19 times in the LCS (78.9%)…road teams to win Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead, have gone on to win the series 22 of 28 times (78.6%), including 7 of 8 times in the LCS (87.5%).
  • Rangers will look to join a short list of teams over the last 20 years to win a best-of-7 series despite losing 3 straight in the series (credit Elias): 2004 BOS in ALCS, 2004 STL in NLCS, 2007 BOS in ALCS, 2017 HOU in ALCS, 2019 WAS in WS, 2020 TB in ALCS.

RANGERS ARE DUE: Texas is 1-8 all-time in potential elimination games in the postseason, losing each of the last 5 such contests: 2010 WS G5 vs. SF, 2011 WS G7 at STL, 2012 ALWC vs. BAL, 2015 ALDS G5 at TOR, 2016 ALDS G3 at TOR…the only postseason game the Rangers have ever won when facing elimination was 2010 ALDS G5 at TB, when Cliff Lee pitched a complete game in a 5-1 Texas victory (9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R-ER, 0 BB, 11 SO).

  • That 2010 ALDS G5 at The Trop was a winner-take-all game…when looking exclusively at TEX postseason games in which the Rangers need to win
    to extend the series, the club has gone 0-5 all-time…those 5 defeats: 1996 ALDS G4 vs. NYY, 1998 ALDS G3 vs. NYY, 1999 ALDS G3 vs. NYY, 2010 WS G5 vs. SF, 2016 ALDS G3 at TOR)…in the 2023 postseason, teams are 0-8 when facing elimination, covering the 8 WC and DS series.

GAME 6: This is just the 4th postseason series in Rangers history to reach 6 games, with each of the previous 3 Game 6’s having offered Texas a chance to clinch the series…those 3 previous Game 6’s: 2010 ALCS G6 vs. NYY (6-1 win), 2011 ALCS G6 vs. DET (15-5 win), and 2011 WS G6 at STL (10-9 loss in 11 innings)…the game in St. Louis was the only other road Game 6 in Rangers history…that 2011 WS was also the only postseason series in franchise history to reach a winner-take-all Game 7 (TEX lost, 6-2).

THE GOOD: Adolis García’s go-ahead 3-R HR in the 6th inning of ALCS G5 gave Texas a 4-2 lead…it was just the 3rd postseason HR in Rangers history to turn a deficit into a lead in the 6th inning-or-later…the others: – Bengie Molina in 2010 ALCS G4 at NYY (3-R HR while trailing 3-2 in 6th) – Mike Napoli in 2011 ALDS G3 at TB (2-R HR while trailing 1-0 in the 7th)

  • García’s HR had a leverage index (LI) of 3.15 according to Stathead (anything above 1.0 LI is considered “high pressure” – 1.5 is considered “high-leverage”)…it was easily the highest LI of any postseason HR in Rangers history, surpassing a 2-R, 10th-inning HR by Josh Hamilton in 2011 WS G6 (2.97 LI).

THE BAD: Jose Altuve’s 3-R HR in the 9th inning of Game 5 provided the final 5-4 score…Altuve’s blast had a leverage index (LI) of 4.43, highest in the 2023 postseason, ahead of ATL’s Austin Riley in NLDS G2 vs. PHI (4.06) and García’s HR (3.15) in the 6th inning of G5…according to Stathead, 2023 ALCS G5 was just the 2nd postseason game in MLB history to feature 2 HR with a leverage index of 3.0-or-higher…the other: 1988 World Series G1, OAK at LAD, when OAK’s Jose Canseco hit a grand slam in the 2nd inning (3.28 LI) and LAD’s Kirk Gibson hit his memorable walk-off 2-R HR in the 9th (4.83 LI).

POSTSEASON EVO: Tonight’s probable starter Nathan Eovaldi has earned wins in each of his 3 starts during Texas’ 2023 postseason run, going 3-0, 2.29 ERA (5 ER/19.2 IP) with 24 SO/1 BB and 2 HR allowed…joins Cliff Lee in 2010 (3-0, 0.75 ERA) as the only pitchers in Rangers history to open a postseason with 3 straight wins…he and Lee are also 2 of 4 pitchers in MLB history to post 24+ strikeouts and one-or-zero walks in their first 3 starts of a postseason: Eovaldi in 2023 (24 SO/1 BB), PHI’s Zack Wheeler in 2023 (26 SO/1 BB), Lee in 2010 (34 SO/1 BB), and BOS’ Josh Beckett in 2007 (26 SO/1 BB)…3 wins are already T2nd-most in Texas postseason history (4-Colby Lewis), and 24 SO are T3rd-most ever by a Ranger in a single postseason behind only Lee in 2010 (47) and C.J. Wilson in 2011 (26).

  • Tonight’s start will be Eovaldi’s 5th career postseason start at Minute Maid Park, all in ALCS series with Boston (2021, 2018) and Texas (2023), which will tie Burt Hooton’s 5 starts at the Original Yankee Stadium for the most postseason starts ever by a visiting pitcher at a single venue.
  • Eovaldi has started 2 previous potential elimination games in his postseason career, both with BOS in 2021: ALWC vs. NYY (W, 5.1 IP, 1 R-ER)
    and ALCS G6 at HOU (L, 4.1 IP, 1 R-ER)…Eovaldi is seeking to join Cliff Lee (2010 ALDS G5 at TB) as the only pitchers in Rangers history to win an elimination game in the postseason.

I’LL BE THERE: Marcus Semien has started each of the Rangers’ 172 games in 2023 at 2nd base (162 in reg. season, 10 in postseason)…according to Elias Sports Bureau, the only players to start all of a team’s 172+ G in a season (reg. and postseason) in the field since 2000 are OF Hideki Matsui (173 G for 2004 NYY), SS Alcides Escobar (177 G for 2014 KC), and Semien (172 G for 2023 TEX)…Elias says that Semien is the first player in MLB history to start all of his team’s 172+ G in a season at 2nd base.

  • Marcus Semien in 67 career G at Minute Maid Park (reg. + postseason): .299/.363/.528/.891 (76-254) with 13 HR, 34 RBI.

2K CLUB: HOU manager Dusty Baker (2183 wins, 7th all-time) and TEX manager Bruce Bochy (2093 wins, 10th all-time) both rank among MLB’s top 10 all-time in regular season wins…according to Elias Sports Bureau, this is just the 2nd postseason series in MLB history in which both managers have at least 2000 regular season wins…the other: 2009 NLDS, LAD over STL, 3-0…the managers: STL’s Tony LaRussa (2461 wins) and LAD’s Joe Torre (2151 wins).

SHORTS: Adolis García leads Texas with 11 RBI in 10 G this postseason, the most ever by a Ranger in the first 10 G of a postseason career (prev. 10 by Juan González in 1996-99)…Games 3-4-5 of this ALCS in Arlington produced the top 3 attendance figures ever for MLB games at Globe Life Field (2020-23): 42,368 for ALCS G3, 42,060 for ALCS G4, and 41,519 for ALCS G5…TEX has won 3 straight at MMP covering reg. and postseason and will need to make it 5 in a row here to take this ALCS…last time TEX won 5 straight at MMP: 10-0 run from 4/2/13-5/12/14

TONIGHT’S STARTING PITCHER – #17 Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (3-0, 2.29)

POSTSEASON: Eovaldi will be making his 4th start of the 2023 postseason (2nd in this ALCS) tonight in ALCS G6 at Houston…will work on extra 5 days’ rest after earning win in Texas’ 5-4 victory in ALCS G2 at HOU on Mon. (see ‘Last Start’)…has gone 7-3, 2.87 ERA (20 ER/62.2 IP) across 14 G/9 GS in his postseason career with Texas (2023) and Boston (2021, 2018)…his 7 career postseason wins are T6th-most among active MLB pitchers…also ranks among hurlers with 50.0+ postseason innings in the Wild Card Era (beg. 1995) in BB/9 (2nd, 1.29), opp. OPS (5th, .544), and WHIP (10th, 0.94).

  • Texas: Has earned wins in each of his 3 starts during Texas’ 2023 postseason run, going 3-0, 2.29 ERA (5 ER/19.2 IP) with 24 SO/1 BB and 2 HR allowed…joins Cliff Lee in 2010 (3-0, 0.75 ERA) as the only pitchers in Rangers history to open a postseason with 3 straight wins…he and Lee are also one of 4 pitchers in MLB history to post 24+ strikeouts and one-or-zero walks in their first 3 starts of a postseason: Eovaldi in 2023 (24 SO/1 BB), PHI’s Zack Wheeler in 2023 (26 SO/1 BB), Lee in 2010 (34 SO/1 BB), and BOS’ Josh Beckett in 2007 (26 SO/1 BB)…3 wins are already T2nd-most in Texas postseason history (4-Colby Lewis), and 24 SO are T3rd-most ever by a Ranger in a single postseason behind only Lee in 2010 (47) and C.J. Wilson in 2011 (26).
  • Boston: Ranks T5th in Red Sox history with 4 postseason wins…in 2018, won both starts (ALDS G3 at NYY; ALCS G3 at HOU) and made 4 relief appearances, posting 1.61 ERA (4 ER/22.1 IP) with 3 BB/16 SO…became the 4th pitcher to throw 6.0+ innings and allow 2 runs or fewer in each of his first 2 career postseason outings, both for BOS…the others are Dutch Leonard (1915-16), Babe Ruth (1916-18), and Jim Lonborg (1967)…in 2018 World Series G3 at LAD, threw 97 pitches in relief during the Sox’ 3-2, 18-inning loss (6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO).

ELIMINATION: Has gone 1-1, 1.96 ERA (2 ER/9.2 IP) in 2 career starts in potential postseason elimination games: 2021 ALCS G6 at HOU w/ BOS (L, 4.1 IP, 1 R-ER) and 2021 ALWC game vs. NYY w/ BOS (W, 5.1 IP, 1 R-ER)…started and took the loss in Boston’s 0-5 defeat on 10/22/21 in 2021 ALCS G6 at HOU (L, 4.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R-ER, 1 BB, 4 SO)…held ‘Stros scoreless after allowing 1st-inning RBI double to Yordan Alvarez, but Red Sox were shutout by 5 Houston pitchers, incl. starter Luis Garcia (W, 5.2 SHO IP).

LAST START: Tossed a quality start and earned his 3rd straight win in Texas’ 5-4 triumph on in ALCS G2 at HOU on Mon. (W, 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R-ER, 1 BB, 9 SO, 2 HR, 91 pitches/62 strikes)…9 strikeouts were a postseason career high (prev. 8, 3x, last 2023 ALWC G2 at TB), and the most by a Texas pitcher in a playoff game since Matt Harrison in 2011 ALDS G4 at TB (also 9)…2 of 3 runs allowed came on solo HRs by Yordan Alvarez (2nd inn.) and Alex Bregman (4th inn.)…escaped bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 5th, retiring Yainer Diaz (K), Jose Altuve (K), and Bregman (5-3) in order.

VS. HOUSTON: A native of nearby Alvin, TX and graduate of Alvin High School (30 miles southeast of Minute Maid Park), Eovaldi owns a lifetime (reg. and postseason) record of 6-6, 4.58 ERA (39 ER/76.2 IP) across 16 G/14 GS vs. Houston…is 3-2, 4.94 ERA (13 ER/23.2 IP) in 6 G/4 GS vs. HOU in the postseason, all of which have come in ALCS series with Boston (2018, 2021) and Texas (2023)…5 of those 6 playoff outings, incl. 4 starts, have come at Minute Maid Park: 3-1, 3.52 ERA (9 ER/23.0 IP), 21 SO/5 BB…with 5 postseason starts at MMP, Eovaldi will tie Burt Hooton’s 5 starts at Original Yankee Stadium for the most PS starts ever by a visiting pitcher at a single venue.

ON ROAD: Saw slightly better results in 13 starts on the road (6-2, 3.56 ERA) vs. 12 starts at Globe Life Field (6-3, 3.70 ERA) in regular season…had nearly identical opp. slash lines allowed in away starts (.227/.294/.367.661) vs. at home (.221/.296/.400/.696)…in 8 G/6 GS on the road in his postseason career: 5-2, 2.53 ERA (12 ER/42.2 IP), 39 SO/6 BB…T9th-most road wins in MLB postseason history, and 2.53 road ERA in postseason is 11th-lowest all-time (min. 40.0 IP on road in postseason).

2023: Went 12-5, 3.63 ERA (58 ER/144.0 IP) with 132 strikeouts over 25 starts in his first season with Texas…had All-Star campaign interrupted by lengthy stint on 15-day Injured List (right forearm strain) from 7/27-9/4…was 11-3, 2.69 (37 ER/123.2 IP) over first 19 starts prior to being placed IL, but went 1-2, 9.30 ERA (21 ER/20.1 IP) across final 6 starts following activation…still finished season ranked among A.L. pitchers (min. 140.0 IP) in opp. BA (5th, .225), H/9 (5th, 7.31), wins (T10th), and ERA (13th).

STAY WINNING: Eovaldi’s 12 wins in 2023 were the 2nd-most of his career (14 in 2015 w/ NYY) and tied for the most by a Rangers pitcher over the last 4 seasons (also 12, Martín Pérez in 2022/Dane Dunning in 2023)…his .706 winning pct. ranked 4th in A.L. (min. 20 GS) to NYY’s Gerrit Cole (.789), BAL’s Dean Kremer (.722), and CLE’s Tanner Bibee (.714)…it was also the 5th-best single-season win pct. ever by a Texas pitcher with at least 25 starts: 762-Derek Holland in 2011, .750-Cole Hamels in 2016, .741-Rick Helling in 1998, .708-Kenny Rogers in 1995, .706-Eovaldi in 2023.

BY THE NUMBERS: Opposing batters slashed .225/.295/.382/.677 (117-521), including reverse splits vs. LHB (.201 BA/.579 OPS) and RHB (.245 BA/.762 OPS)…was one of 4 A.L. pitchers (min. 140.0 IP) to post a ground ball pct. above 50% this season: BOS’ Brayan Bello (56.6%), HOU’s Framber Valdez (55.0%), HOU’s Hunter Brown (52.6%), and Eovaldi (51.5%)…2nd-highest GB pct. of his career (53.2% in 2015 with2 NYY)… had 4 starts of at least 8.0 IP, T3rd-most in MLB behind only MIA’s Sandy Alcantara (6) and KC’s Jordan Lyles (5)…his 8.25 SO/9 was his lowest mark in that category since 2018 (8.19 with TB/BOS)…fell one out shy of CG SHO on 5/11 at OAK (W, 8.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 SO, 113 pitches/78 strikes), but established a new career high with 12 SO.

COMPLETE GAMES: Produced complete games on 4/29 vs. NYY (W, 9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R) and 5/23 at PIT (W, 9.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R-ER), finishing as one of 7 MLB pitchers with multiple complete games in ‘23…1st Rangers hurler with multiple CG in a season since Mike Minor in 2019 (2 CG)…shutout on 4/29 vs. NYY was the 1st 9.0-inn. SHO of his career, 1st by a Texas pitcher since Martín Pérez on 5/20/22 at HOU (9.0 SHO IP), and the 1st CG SHO ever by a TEX pitcher at Globe Life Field…he became the 1st native Texan to throw a CG SHO for the Rangers since Roger Pavlik on 9/7/95 vs. CWS (9.0 SHO IP).

STREAKING: Posted career-best 29.2-inning scoreless streak from 4/24-5/17, T5th-longest in Rangers history: 39.0-Kenny Rogers, 5/6-6/1/95; 36.0-Charlie Hough, 8/23-9/14/83; 33.1-Yovani Gallardo, 6/10-7/7/15; 31.0-Rogers, 4/27-5/20/05; 29.2-Eovaldi, 4/24-5/17/23/Jeff Zimmerman, 5/25-8/2/99…recorded 8.0+ SHO IP in 3 straight starts from 4/29-5/6, becoming just the 3rd pitcher in TEX history with 3 consecutive outings of at least 8.0 SHO IP: Martín Pérez (3, 4/13-23/14) and Charlie Hough (3, 8/28-9/7/83)…Eovaldi also struck out 25 batters while issuing just 3 walks over that stretch, just the 6th pitcher in the modern era (since 1900) to have a 3-start span with 25.0+ SHO IP, 25+ SO, and 3-or-fewer walks (credit: STATS).

HOUSTON ASTROS NOTES:

ALCS GAME 6: The Astros and Rangers will play Game 6 of the 2023 American League Championship Series tonight with Houston just one win shy of reaching their third consecutive World Series…tonight’s pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 2 between All-Stars LHP Framber Valdez and RHP Nathan Eovaldi…Valdez (4ER/2.2IP) ran into early trouble in Game 2, allowing four runs in the 1st, while Eovaldi (3ER/6IP) pitched great en route to the win.

THE FRAMCHISE: LHP Framber Valdez has gone 7-4 with a 4.16 ERA in 15 career postseason outings (14 starts)…Valdez’s seven postseason wins rank second in club history, trailing RHP Justin Verlander (10)…his seven career postseason wins are also the most by a Dominican-born pitcher in postseason history, one more than the Hall of Famer RHP Pedro Martinez (6-4).

FAMILIAR FOE: RHP Nathan Eovaldi has matched up against the Astros in 16 career games (14 starts), going 6-6 with a 4.58 ERA opposite Houston, which includes postseason action…2B Jose Altuve has faced Eovaldi in 41 career at-bats, hitting .268 with five homers in those matchups…DH Yordan Alvarez (.692, 9×13, 2 HR) and 3B Alex Bregman (.409, 9×22, 2 HR) join Altuve in having career success opposite Eovaldi.

ON THE BRINK: The Astros are one win away from advancing to their sixth World Series in franchise history, previously doing so in 2005, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022…they’re also attempting to become the first team to win a pennant in either league in three straight seasons since the 1998-01 Yankees did so in four consecutive years.

ASTROS WORLD SERIES APPS. RESULT
2005 Astros vs. White Sox White Sox in 4
2017 Astros vs. Dodgers Astros in 7
2019 Astros vs. Nationals Nationals in 7
2021 Astros vs. Braves Braves in 6
2022 Astros vs. Phillies Astros in 6

THE EPIC GAME 5: The Astros and Rangers played a classic in Game 5 of the ALCS on Friday in Arlington, with the Astros coming out on top, 5-4, behind a clutch three-run homer in the top of the 9th by 2B Jose Altuve…the Astros pitcher of the game was RHP Ryan Pressly (0ER/2IP), who got the final six outs on 24 pitches to secure the victory…3B Alex Bregman (1×4, HR, RBI) and 1B José Abreu (1×4, RBI) drove in the other runs for Houston on the night.

GO-AHEAD HOMERS: According to OptaSTATS, the Astros now have multiple go-ahead postseason homers in the 9th inning or later while trailing by multiple runs in their history… this includes the homer by 2B Jose Altuve on Friday and the unforgettable homer by LF Yordan Alvarez in Game 1 of the 2022 ALDS vs. SEA…all other franchises have combined for one such homer in the playoffs, coming from the Cardinals Albert Pujols, who hit his against the Astros in Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS in Houston.

ROAD WINS TO OPEN A SERIES: The road team has won all five games to begin the 2023 American League Championship Series…this is the fourth best-of-seven series all-time to have the road team win each of the first five games and the first ever in a LCS…the three previous series to have the road team win the first five games are the 2019 World Series (all 7 – WSH/HOU), 1996 World Series (first 5 – NYY/ATL) and 1906 World Series (first 5 – CWS/CHC).

ROAD WARRIORS: Including a 5-0 record this postseason, the Astros have gone 56-30 (.651) on the road this season, which ranks as the best road record in the Majors…additionally, the Astros are 19-3 in their last 22 road games…among AL teams in road games in the regular season, the Astros led the AL in runs per game (5.70), HR (130), batting average (.268), OBP (.337), SLG (.460) and OPS (.798).

ALTUVE’S HISTORIC BLASTS: The go-ahead homer by 2B Jose Altuve on Friday marked his 26th career postseason homer, which ranks second all-time, and his 11th homer in the ALCS, which is a league record…per ESPN, the homer was also his 10th career go-ahead homer in the postseason, passing 1B Albert Pujols for the most in MLB history…including Friday’s blast, three of Altuve’s postseason homers came in the 9th inning or later, the most in MLB history…that others came in Game 2 of the 2017 World Series, and Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS.

COMING UP BIG: 2B Jose Altuve, who played in his 100th career postseason game earlier this series, enters tonight’s game ranking second in postseason history in homers (26), second in runs (86), fourth in hits (113), fourth in extra-base hits (46), seventh in games (101) and tied for seventh in RBI (54)…all-time postseason rankings below:

HOME RUNS (#1-3) RBI (#7-9)

  1. Manny Ramirez 29 T7. Jose Altuve 54
  2. Jose Altuve 26 T7. Albert Pujols 54
  3. Bernie Williams 22 9. Alex Bregman 53

AIR YORDAN: LF Yordan Alvarez is hitting .417 (15×36) with two doubles, six homers, 13 RBI, 11 runs scored and a 1.422 OPS in nine games this postseason…a few notes on his postseason:

  • Alvarez now has 12 career postseason homers, the most by a Cuban-born player in Major League history.
  • he has two multi-homer games, becoming the first player in Astros history and sixth player in Major League history with two multi-homer games in a single postseason.
  • his six homers already tie as the third-highest total for a single postseason in franchise history, last reached by SS Carlos Correa in 2020…the franchise record for a single season is eight, hit by CF Carlos Beltrán in 2004.
  • per OptaSTATS, the Astros are 19-2 (.905) in postseason games when Alvarez records an RBI…only one other MLB player has a .900+ career winning percentage in the postseason when driving in a run (min. 20 games): Lou Gehrig (18-2).
  • Alvarez has recorded multiple hits in four consecutive games, which ties George Springer for the longest such streak in Astros postseason history…Alvarez’s streak is the longest in a single postseason in club history.

RUN PRODUCER: 1B José Abreu has hit .257 (9×35) with four homers and 12 RBI in nine games this postseason…his 12 RBI rank tied for second in the 2023 postseason, along with the Phillies C J.T. Realmuto, and trailing only teammate LF Yordan Alvarez (13)…Abreu has been on an RBI tear, collecting 40 RBI in his last 35 games since Sept. 1…he also finished his regular season leading the AL in RBI after Sept. 1.

TONIGHT’S ASTROS STARTER: LHP FRAMBER VALDEZ
LAST START – 10/16 vs. TEX: got the start in Game 2 of the ALCS…allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits through 2.2 innings with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts.

ABOUT VALDEZ: the lefty put together another solid campaign, including an Opening Day start, his 2nd consecutive All-Star selection and 1st career no-hitter.

  • had an excellent first half this season, going 7-6 with a 2.51 ERA… had the lowest qualified ERA in the Majors and was the first Astro to lead the Majors in ERA at the All-Star Break since RHP Roger Clemens (1.48 ERA, 2005).
  • after a slow start to the second half, rebounded over his last 7 starts, going 3-2 with a 3.12 ERA and logging 5 quality starts during that stretch.
  • ranked T-3rd in the AL quality starts (20), 3rd in innings pitched (198.0), 7th in ERA (3.45), 5th in opponent OPS (.656), 6th in pitching WAR (4.6) and 7th in strikeouts (200).

POSTSEASON NUMBERS: has gone 7-4 with a 4.16 ERA (35ER/75.2IP) in 15 career postseason outings (14 starts).

  • is averaging 14.4 SO/9 IP through his first 2 starts of this postseason (11SO/7IP).
  • is 3-2 with a 2.78 ERA (10ER/32.1IP) in 6 career ALCS starts, holding opponents to a .223 (27×121) batting average…4 of his 6 ALCS starts have been quality starts and the Astros are 4-2 in those contests.
  • was magnificent in the 2022 postseason, going 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA (4ER/25IP) in 4 starts, which included two World Series starts.
  • since his postseason debut in 2020, leads all Major League pitchers in wins (7), innings pitched (75.2), starts (14) and strikeouts (86).
  • got the start in Game 6 of the 2022 World Series vs. PHI, resulting in a 4-1 win to clinch the club’s 2nd World Series Championship…allowed 1 run on 2 hits through 6.0 innings with 9 strikeouts and 2 walks that night to pick up the winning decision.
  • among Dominican-born pitchers in the postseason, ranks 1st in wins (7), 2nd in strikeouts (86) and 2nd in innings (75.2)…trails only RHP Pedro Martinez in strikeouts (96) and innings (96.1).
  • surpassed RHP Lance McCullers Jr. for the 2nd-most strikeouts (86) in Astros postseason history in Game 2 of the ALCS vs. TEX…also ranks 2nd in wins (7) and 2nd in innings pitched (75.2), trailing RHP Justin Verlander (132 strikeouts, 127.2 IP) in both categories.

VS. TEX: has been phenomenal vs. the Rangers, going 7-5 with a 2.90 ERA (27ER/83.2IP) with a .215 opponent’s batting average (67×311) in 16 career regular-season outings (13 starts)…his 2.90 ERA is the 3rd-lowest of active players vs. the Rangers (min. 80 IP).

  • made his last regular-season start vs. the Rangers on Sept. 5 at Globe Life Field…allowed 1 run on 6 hits through 7.0 innings with 4 walks
    and 4 strikeouts in a 14-1 Astros victory.
  • since 2021, has recorded a 2.24 ERA (16ER/64.1IP) in 10 regular-season starts (9 quality starts) vs. the Rangers, with the Astros going 6-4 in those games.

STAYING GROUNDED: once again led the AL in groundball percentage with a 55.0% rate…ranked immediately ahead of TB RHP Zach Eflin (49.8%) in that category.

  • owns a career 63.4% groundball percentage, which ranks as the lowest qualified percentage in the Majors since 2018….since ground ball percentage started being tracked in 1987, Valdez career ground ball percentage is the 2nd-highest ever posted by a starting pitcher (min. 300 IP), trailing only RHP Brandon Webb (65.1%).
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