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MLB ALCS | Game 7 Preview: Texas Rangers (3-3) at Houston Astros (3-3)

Series tied at 3-3

TEXAS RANGERS NOTES:

WINS AND LOSSES: The Rangers’ Game 6 win last night snapped a 3-G losing streak to the Astros in this ALCS, as Texas is now 8-3 in the 2023 postseason…marked 1st win since a franchise-best 7-G postseason win streak that opened this year’s postseason for Texas: 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).

  • The Rangers’ 8 wins and 8-3 (.727) record are both tied w/ PHI for best in MLB in the 2023 postseason, both tops among A.L. clubs.
  • 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 7 consecutive road wins, just the 2nd time in MLB history that a team has won its 1st 7+ road games in a postseason (see chart)…the only other team with a 7+ game road win streak at any point in a single postseason was the 2019 Nationals (8-0).

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
7 2023 TEX ALWC G1-2 at TB, ALDS G1-2 at BAL, ALCS G1-2-6 at HOU
6 2005 CWS ALDS G3 at BOS, ALCS G3-4-5 at LAA, WS G3-4 at HOU

  • The current 7-G road win streak is T5th-longest in MLB history, longest since Houston had a 7-G away win streak spanning 2019-20…last longer streak?: 8-0 for 2019 WAS, which ended with 4 wins here at MMP.
  • 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’ .559 (19-15) all-time postseason road record is the highest away win pct. in MLB history (25+ G).

ALCS UPDATE: The 2023 ALCS is tied at 3-3 entering tonight’s decisive Game 7…some notes on the current situation ahead of this game to decide
this year’s American League champion:

  • The road team has won each of the 1st 6 G of this ALCS, just the 2nd best-of-7 series in MLB history for that to happen, 1st in a LCS…only other instance: 2019 World Series (WAS over HOU, 4-3; road team won all 7 G).
  • Teams trailing 3-2 to win Game 6 in a 7-G series have gone on to win the series 33 of 59 times (55.9%), including 12 of 19 times in the LCS (63.2%).
  • When road teams in that scenario win Game 6, they have won the series 12 of 23 times (52.2%), including 4 of 9 times in the LCS (44.4%).
  • 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.

NEVER SAY DIE: The Rangers’ win last night was just the 2nd in franchise history in a potential elimination game in the postseason (also 2010 ALDS G5 at TB), and the 1st time in 6 chances to extend a postseason series when facing elimination…Rangers are now 2-8 all-time in potential elimination games, 1-5 in postseason games in which the Rangers need to win to extend the series…the Rangers’ win last night was the 1st in the 2023 postseason by any club when facing elimination (now 1-8 in 2023).

THE BOCHY TOUCH: Rangers manager Bruce Bochy recorded career postseason win no. 52 last night, 5th all-time and just behind 4th-place Dusty Baker (57)…Bochy has won 13 of the last 14 postseason series in which his teams have participated…according to MLB’s Sarah Langs, Bochy is the 7th manager to reach the LCS round with 3 different franchises…Bochy is attempting to become the 1st manager in MLB history to win an LCS with 3 different teams (SD/SF/TEX).

  • MLB’s Sarah Langs notes that Bochy’s teams are 5-0 in winner-take-all postseason games, all w/ SF: 2012 NLDS G5 at CIN (6-4 win), 2012 NLCS
    G7 vs. STL (9-0 win), 2014 NLWC at PIT (8-0 win), 2014 WS G7 at KC (3-2 win), 2016 NLWC at NYM (3-0 win)…Bochy’s 5 such wins are tied for most
    in MLB history (also Joe Maddon, Dick Williams, Dave Roberts)…Langs notes that Williams is the only other to win 5 straight, and Bochy is only to win each of his 1st 5 such contests.
  • Bochy’s .591 (52-36) postseason win pct. is 4th all-time (5+ appearances in the postseason) to only Hall of Famers Joe McCarthy (30-13, .698), Sparky Anderson (34-21, .618), and Joe Torre (84-58, .592).

GAME 7: This will be just the 2nd Game 7 in franchise history for the Rangers, the other in 2011 WS G7 at STL (6-2 loss)…since the World Series went permanently to a best-of-7 format in 1922, there have been 57 Game 7’s in WS and LCS play…the road team is 26-31 in those 57 contests, losing each of the last 2 such contests, as both 2020 LCS went to the 7-game limit (ATL lost at LAD in NLCS G7 at Globe Life Field, HOU lost at TB in ALCS G7 at Petco Park).

  • Those 2020 contests were played at neutral sites with no fans in attendance…in Game 7’s in the home team’s park with fans in the stands, the
    road team has won 3 straight (2017 WS G7 HOU at LAD, 2018 NLCS G7 LAD at MIL, and 2019 WS G7 WSN at HOU) and 5 of the last 6.
  • In ALCS Game 7’s since moving to a best-of-7 format in 1985, the road team is 2-6 all-time, losing 4 straight, with only road wins coming in 1985 (KC at TOR) and 2004 (BOS at NYY)…this will be the 20th LCS all-time (AL/NL) to go the full 7 G since 1985.
  • This will be just the 3rd Game 7 in a postseason series in the expansion era (since 1969) featuring teams from the same state…the others: 1985 WS G7 (at KC 11, STL 0) and 2002 WS G7 (at ANA 4, SF 1).
  • Opponents are 3-2 vs. HOU all-time in Game 7, winning 2 straight: TB in 2020 ALCS G7 vs. HOU at Petco Park; and WAS in 2019 WS G7 at HOU… this will be just the 3rd Game 7 ever played in Houston…others: 2019 WS G7 vs. WAS (Nats won, 6-2) and 2017 ALCS G7 vs. NYY (Astros won, 4-0).

THIS IS IT: This will be just the 5th winner-take-all postseason game in Rangers franchise history (since 1961), losing 3 straight since winning the 1st such game ever for the club in 2010 ALDS G5 at TB (5-1 win)…the 3 losses since that victory: 2011 WS G7 (6-2 loss), 2012 ALWC vs. BAL (5-1 loss), and 2015 ALDS G5 at TOR (6-3 loss).

POSTSEASON EVO: Nathan Eovaldi earned the win in last night’s elimination game (6.1 IP, 2 R-ER), joining Cliff Lee (2010 ALDS G5 at TB: CG, 9.0 IP, 1 R-ER) as the only Texas pitchers ever to win an elimination game in the postseason…Eovaldi is now 4-0, 2.42 (7 ER/26.0 IP) in his 4 starts in this postseason, most wins ever by a Ranger in one postseason and tying career mark for playoff wins in club history (Colby Lewis, 4-1 in 10 G/9 GS from 2010-16)…some notes:

  • Eovaldi’s 4 wins match the most by a starter in a single postseason in MLB history…he is one of 22 starting pitchers all-time to record 4 wins in single a postseason…the last 5 before Eovaldi: Clayton Kershaw (4-1 for 2020 LAD), Stephen Strasburg (4-0 for 2019 WAS), Gerrit Cole (4-1 for 2019 HOU), Corey Kluber (4-1 for 2016 CLE), and Madison Bumgarner (4-1 for 2014 SF).
  • Joins Cliff Lee (2010) as the only pitchers in Rangers history to have four quality starts in a single postseason.

EL GRANDE: Adolis García’s grand slam in the 9th inning last night provided the final 9-2 margin in the Rangers’ G6 victory…the slam came in his 5th PA after he had struck out in each of his 1st 4 PA’s…some notes on the feat:

  • It was the 3rd grand slam in TEX postseason history, also Nelson Cruz (2011 ALCS G2 vs. DET-walk-off) & Mitch Garver (2023 ALDS G2 at BAL).
  • Became the 1st player in MLB history with a grand slam against a single opponent in both the reg. season (7/26 at HOU) and postseason (ALCS G6 at HOU) in the same year (credit STATS).
  • 1st player in MLB postseason history to hit a HR after 4 SO earlier in a game (credit ESPN Stats & Info).
  • García has RBI in 5 straight games (10 total RBI), longest RBI streak in Texas postseason history and T9th-longest ever in a single postseason.
  • García has HR in 3 straight games, just the 3rd Ranger to ever do that in the postseason, joining Juan Gonzalez (4, 1996 ALDS G1-2-3-4) and Nelson Cruz (3, 2011 ALCS G4-5-6).
  • 15 RBI lead MLB this postseason, T2nd-most by any player in 1st 11 career PS games (20-Nomar Garciaparra; 11-García and B.J. Upton).

MAD MAX: Max Scherzer is 0-1, 3.80 ERA (10 ER/23.2 IP) over 7 games/4 starts in ‘sudden death’ postseason games in his career, with his teams
going 5-2 in those contests (3-1 in the starts)…4 career winner-take-all postseason starts rank 3rd all-time behind Roger Clemens (5) and Gerrit Cole (5)…per Stathead, Scherzer (39 years, 88 days) will be the oldest pitcher to start a Game 7 since SF’s Tim Hudson (39-107) in 2014 WS G7 at KC.

SHORTS: Last night’s G6 (9-2 win) was just the 4th postseason win in TEX history of 7+ runs, also 2010 ALCS G3 at NYY (8-0), 2010 ALCS G4 at NYY (10-3) and 2011 ALCS G6 vs. DET (15-5)…Evan Carter has reached base safely in each of the Rangers’ 11 G this postseason, his 1st 11 postseason contests…according to MLB’s Sarah Langs, it is the longest streak by a player at age 21-or-younger in postseason history.

GAME 7 STARTING PITCHER – #31 Max Scherzer, RHP – (0-1, 11.25)
GAME 7: The 3-time Cy Young Award winner (2013, 2016-17) and 8-time All-Star is set to make his 2nd appearance/start of the 2023 postseason tonight in Game 7 of the ALCS at Houston…will work on extra 5 days’ rest after taking a loss in Rangers’ 8-5 defeat in Game 3 of this series on Wed. in Arlington (see ‘Last Start’)…this will be Scherzer’s 2nd career start in a postseason Game 7, with the other coming in the Washington Nationals’ championship-clinching 6-2 win here at Minute Maid Park in 2019 World Series G7 at HOU on 10/30/19 (ND, 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R-ER, 4 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, 103 pitches/58 strikes)…faced 2009 Cy Young Award-winner Zack Greinke (ND, 6.1 IP, 2 R-ER), the first time in World Series history a pair of Cy Young Award-winners faced off in a Game 7 (Elias)…exited after the 5th with Washington trailing 0-2 after allowing runs in the 2nd (Yuli Gurriel solo HR) and 5th (Carlos Correa RBI single) innings, but avoided the loss as the Nationals rallied for 6 runs over the game’s final 3 frames. -Sudden Death: Scherzer is 0-1, 3.80 ERA (10 ER/23.2 IP) in 7 games/4 starts in ‘Sudden Death’ postseason games in his career, with his teams going 5-2 in those contests (3-1 in the starts, incl. 3-0 in last 3 starts)…marks 3rd-most career ‘Sudden Death’ postseason starts in MLB history to only Roger Clemens (5) and Gerrit Cole (5)…pitched scoreless 9th inn. and recorded a save in last such appearance in 2021 NLDS G5 at SF w/ LAD (SV, 1.0 IP, 2 SO)…last such start came in 2021 N.L. Wild Card Game on 10/6/21 vs. STL w/ LAD (ND, 4.1 IP, 1 R-ER, 4 SO), a 3-1 Dodgers’ victory.

POSTSEASON: The 2019 World Series Champion (Washington) owns a lifetime record of 7-8, 3.80 ERA (58 ER/137.1 IP) over 28 games/23 starts in the postseason… ranks 3rd among active pitchers in playoff innings, starts, and strikeouts (168)…his ranks among MLB’s all-time postseason leaders (min. 75.0 IP): strikeouts per 9.0 innings (3rd, 11.01), strikeouts (6th), starts (T8th), opp. BA (10th, .204), innings (13th)…5 K’s shy of tying Roger Clemens (173) for 5th-most in MLB postseason history…at 39 years, 88 days old today, Scherzer will be the oldest pitcher ever to start a postseason game for Texas and the oldest pitcher to start any Game 7 since SF’s Tim Hudson (39-107) in 2014 WS G7 at KC…is 6-7 with 3.71 ERA (54 ER/131.0 IP), 10.85 strikeouts per 9.0 innings figure, and .200 opp. BA (95-476) as a starter in the postseason…is winless in his last 7 G/6 GS in the playoffs (0-3, 5.34) since his last victory with Washington in 2019 World Series G1 on 10/22/19 at HOU (W, 5.0 IP, 2 R-ER)…has gone 1-0, 3.86 ERA (7 ER/16.1 IP) over 3 games/starts spanning a pair of Fall Classic appearances with Detroit (2012, 1 GS) and Washington (2019, 2 GS), capturing the 2019 World Series title vs. Houston (4-3)…went 3-0, 2.40 ERA (8 ER/30.0 IP), 37 SO/15 BB over 6
G/5 GS in the 2019 postseason, with the Nationals going 6-0 in his outings.

LAST START: Made his 1st start in over a month in ALCS G3 on Wednesday at Globe Life Field (L, 4.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R-ER, 1 BB, 4 SO, 1 HR, 63 pitches/42 strikes), taking the loss as part of an 8-5 Rangers defeat…surrendered 3 runs in 2nd inn. on a bases-loaded wild pitch and 2-run single by Martin Maldonaldo…also permitted solo HR to Jose Altuve in the 3rd…was selected to Texas’ ALCS roster after he was not included on club’s ALDS or ALWC squads…was on 15-day Injured List from 9/13-end of season with a right teres major strain (shoulder) suffered in final regular-season start on 9/12 vs. TOR.

ALL-TIMER: Three pitchers in MLB history have 200+ wins, 3000+ SO, and a WHIP figure below 1.10: Walter Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Max Scherzer. -Strikeouts: Scherzer is MLB’s active career leader in regular season strikeouts (3,367), ranking 11th on the all-time strikeouts list as one of only 19 players to reach 3,000+ career K’s in MLB history…passed Phil Niekro (3,342) for 11th all-time on 8/20 vs. MIL…next on list is 10th-place Greg Maddux (3,371)…is only the 5th member of the esteemed “3,000 Strikeout Club” to appear for Texas, joining Nolan Ryan (1989-93), Bert Blyleven (1976-77), Gaylord Perry (1975-77, 1980), and Fergie Jenkins (1974-75, 1978-81)…has recorded 9 seasons of 200+ strikeouts, which ranks 5th all-time behind Nolan Ryan (15), Randy Johnson (13), Roger Clemens (12), and Tom Seaver (10)…8/26 at MIN (10 SO) was his 113th career double-digit strikeout game, 3rd-most in MLB history behind only Nolan Ryan (215) and Randy Johnson (212). -The Wild Card Era: Among pitchers with 1500.0 IP in the Wild Card Era (since 1995), Scherzer ranks 2nd in SO (3,367) to only Randy Johnson (3,545), 4th in WHIP (1.08), 4th in opp. BA (.220) and 6th in ERA (3.15).

VS. HOUSTON: Scherzer is 6-3, 4.19 ERA (36 ER/77.1 IP) across 13 games/12 starts in his career vs. Houston (reg. + postseason), incl. 1-1, 5.79 (9 ER/14.0 IP) over 3 postseason starts against the Astros…has faced Houston 3 times in 2023 (2-regular season, 1-postseason), going 1-2, 7.80 ERA (13 ER/15.0 IP) over 3 starts…owns a lifetime 3-1 record and 2.84 ERA (12 ER/38.0 IP) in 6 G/GS at Minute Maid Park (incl.
postseason)…last outing in Houston came in dominant start for the Mets on 6/19/23 at HOU (W, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R-ER, 1 BB, 8 SO)…made pair of starts for Washington at MMP in the 2019 World Series vs. Houston: Game 1, 10/22/19 (W, 5.0 IP, 2 R-ER, 7 SO) and Game 7, 10/30/19 (ND, 5.0 IP, 2 R-ER, 3 SO)…pitched for 2 seasons under current Astros manager Dusty Baker as a member of the Nationals from 2016-17.

ON ROAD: Has gone 4-3 with one save and a 3.22 ERA (28 ER/78.1 IP) across 16 games/13 starts on the road in his postseason career…is undefeated in his last 7 G/5 GS in away playoff games: 2-0, 2.12 (7 ER/29.2 IP)…went 8-4, 4.31 ERA (41 ER/85.2 IP) in 15 G/GS on the road in the regular season for the Mets and Rangers…8 road wins were T4th-most in MLB behind only ATL’s Spencer Strider (12), BAL’s Kyle Gibson (9), and SEA’s Logan Gilbert (9)…registered far better ERA results in 12 G/GS at home (5-2, 3.09), and allowed 3 times as many HR in away outings (21) vs. at home (7).

2023: Combined to go 13-6, 3.77 ERA (64 ER/152.2 IP) with 174 strikeouts across 27 games/starts with NYM (19 GS) and TEX (8 GS) in his 16th Major League season… his 10.26 SO/9 figure was his lowest since 2013 (10.08), but was the 7th-highest mark ever by a pitcher in his age 38-or-older season (min. 150.0 IP)…2023 marked his 13th career 10-win season, T2nd-most among active MLB pitchers behind only Verlander (15), and his 14th campaign with 150+ strikeouts, T5th-most all-time: 20-Nolan Ryan, 19-Roger Clemens, 18-Steve Carlton, 16-Randy Johnson, 14-Scherzer/Bert Blyleven/ Don Sutton/Gaylord Perry…opponents batted .221/.282/.407/.689 (126-570) this season, including opp. BA’s of .220 (62-282) vs. RHB and .222 (64-282) vs. LHB…allowed at least one HR in 16 of 27 GS and 2+ HR in 7 GS, as 1.65 HR/9 figure was highest of his career (prev. 1.34 in 2011 w/ DET)…opp. BA by time thru the order: 1st (.202, 44- 218), 2nd (.211, 46-218), 3rd (.267, 35-131), and 4th+ (1-3)…69.9% 1st-pitch strike pct. was the 3rd-highest mark of career (71.3% in 2015 and 70.4% in 2019).

TEXAS: Was acquired from the Mets, along with cash considerations, in exchange for INF/OF Luisangel Acuña on 7/30, and added to Texas’s active roster on 8/1…went 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA (16 ER/45.0 IP), 15 BB/53 SO, .174 opp. BA (28-161) over his 8 starts with the Rangers, but finished the season on the 15-day Injured List (right teres major muscle strain) from 9/13-end of season.

HOUSTON ASTROS NOTES:

TONIGHT’S GAME 7: The best two words in professional sports, Game 7, will happen tonight in the ALCS between the Astros and Rangers…tonight’s pitching matchup is a dandy with the postseason superstar RHP Cristian Javier opposing the future Hall of Famer RHP Max Scherzer…tonight’s pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 3 in Arlington, when Javier (2ER/5.2IP) outpitched Scherzer (5ER/4IP) in the Astros 8-5 win.

GAME 7 HISTORY: The Astros have played in a Game 7 five times in club history, going 2-3 in those games…their wins both came in 2017, as they dispatched the Yankees in the ALCS and the Dodgers in the World Series…the losses are unfortunately just as memorable, in the 2004 ALCS to the Cardinals, the 2019 World Series to the Nationals, and the 2020 ALCS to the Rays.

SPEAKING OF GAME 7s: The Astros roster six position players that have appeared in a Game 7, including 2B Jose Altuve and 3B Alex Bregman, who have both played in the Astros four Game 7s since the 2017 season…the Astros will be facing RHP Max Scherzer tonight, who they also faced in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series as a member of the Nationals…Scherzer did not factor into the decision in that start, but did toss 5.0
innings of two-run ball in the Nationals 6-2 comeback victory.

ON THE BRINK: The Astros are one win away from advancing to their third consecutive World Series and their sixth 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.

THE LONE STAR STATE RIVALRY: This series represents the first postseason matchup between the two franchises in the great state of Texas…in fact, this season is just the fourth time in MLB history for these two teams to make the postseason in the same year (also, 1998-99, 2015)…an LCS between two intra-state rivals has never happened before, but it has happened in the World Series, last occurring in 2002, when
Dusty Baker managed San Francisco against Anaheim in a seven-game series won by the Angels.

ROAD FIELD ADVANTAGE: The road team has won all six games to begin the 2023 American League Championship Series…this is just the second best-of-seven series all-time to have the road team win each of the first six games…of course the only other time was in the 2019 World Series between the Astros and Nationals, with the road team winning all seven games that series, including the Nationals Game 7 win in Houston.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Astros and Rangers played a tight ballgame last night, until a five-run Rangers 9th put the game on ice in the Astros 9-2 loss…LHP Framber Valdez (3ER/5IP) had his best start of the postseason, but was doomed by a pair of homers, which scored all three runs against him…DH Yordan Alvarez (2×3, RBI), 2B Jose Altuve (2×5) and 1B José Abreu (2×4) all recorded multi-hit games for Houston.

ABOUT JAVIER: RHP Cristian Javier has had an up and down year, but has pitched the Astros to a 23-9 record in his 32 starts, including two postseason starts…he opened the season in vintage form, going 7-1 with a 2.90 ERA in his first 14 starts…he then had a rough 13-start stretch from June 21-Sept. 9, in which he logged a 7.27 ERA…Javier has finished strong, posting a 2.59 ERA (9ER/31.1IP) over his last six outings, including his two wins this postseason.

THE UNTOUCHABLE: RHP Cristian Javier has been incredible in the postseason in his career, going 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA (10ER/43.1IP) in 16 games, including four starts…he’s been immaculate in his four starts, going 4-0 with a 0.82 ERA (2ER/22IP) in those games…as a starter in the postseason, he’s allowed just a .071 (5×70) opponent batting average, which is by far the lowest opponent batting average by a starter
with four-plus postseason starts in MLB history.

THE KING: RHP Ryan Pressly is 14-for-14 in career postseason save opportunities, giving him the most postseason saves in Astros club history, and giving him the fifth-most saves in MLB postseason history…Pressly did not allow an earned run in 11.0 innings last postseason, and has not allowed an earned run in each of his last 20 postseason appearances (22.2IP)… he’s allowed just one unearned run in that span.

ALTUVE’S HISTORIC BLASTS: The go-ahead homer by 2B Jose Altuve in Game 5 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 0th 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 (87), fourth in hits (115), fourth in extra-base hits (46), seventh in games (102) and tied for seventh in RBI (54)…all-time postseason rankings below:

HITS (#2-4) RBI (#7-9)

  1. Bernie Williams 128 T7. Jose Altuve 54
  2. Manny Ramirez 117 T7. Albert Pujols 54
  3. Jose Altuve 115 9. Alex Bregman 53

AIR YORDAN: LF Yordan Alvarez is hitting .436 (17×39) with two doubles, six homers, 14 RBI, 12 runs and a 1.426 OPS in 10 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.
  • his six homers tie as the third-highest total for a single postseason in franchise history, last reached by SS Carlos Correa in 2020… his 14 RBI also tie as the third-highest total for a single postseason in club history, which was also reached by Alvarez in 2022.
  • the Astros are 19-3 (.864) in postseason games when he records an RBI…he has an RBI in seven of his 10 games this postseason.
  • Alvarez has recorded multiple hits in five consecutive games, which is now the longest streak in Astros postseason history.

THE HOT CORNER: 3B Alex Bregman has played seven full seasons in the Majors (2017-23) and has advanced to at least the ALCS in every full year, winning two championships…he now has 18 career postseason homers and 53 career postseason RBI, both MLB records for a third baseman.

TONIGHT’S ASTROS STARTER: RHP CRISTIAN JAVIER
W-L ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2023: 10-5 4.56 31 31 162.0 143 85 82 62 159
CAREER: 30-17 3.57 109 75 466.1 335 191 185 185 537
vs. TEX W-L-S ERA G GS IP H R ER BB SO
2023 REG: 0-0 16.62 1 1 4.1 9 8 8 0 4
CAREER: 5-1 3.84 14 10 63.1 45 29 27 24 71

LAST START – 2023 ALCS GM 3 AT TEX: earned the win in his last outing…allowed 2 runs on 3 hits with 1 walk and 3 strikeouts in 5.2 innings…he recorded the 2nd longest scoreless innings streak to begin a postseason by a starting pitcher at 20.1 innings the only starting pitcher with a longer streak was Hall-of-Famer RHPChristy Mathewson (28 IP) from 1905-1911.

POSTSEASON HEROICS: has delievered on the biggest stages with a strong postseason career, posting a 6-1 record with a 2.08 ERA (10ER/43.1IP) in 16 postseason games (4 GS)… it’s the lowest ERA of any postseason pitcher (min. 40 IP) since the beginning of the ‘20 postseason…has held opponents to a .123 average (18×146) in his postseason career, which is the lowest postseason opponent’s batting average of any MLB pitcher (min. 40 IP) since ‘20.

  • delivered one of the most historic starts in MLB postseason history in Game 4 of the 2022 World Series, throwing 6.0 hitless innings to begin the Astros combined no-hitter in a 5-0 win….was followed by RHP Bryan Abreu, RHP Rafael Montero and RHP Ryan Pressly to complete the no-hitter, with each pitcher contributing 1.0 inning…Javier struck out 9 batters to just 2 walks in the start…was the second no-hitter in World Series history and first combined no-hitter…became the 10th pitcher in World Series history with a no-hit bid of 6+ innings and was first to do so since LHP Jerry Koosman (NYM) (6 IP) in Game 2 of the 1969 World Series at BAL.

ABOUT JAVIER: the Dominican hurler made 31 starts in 2023 with the Astros going 21-10 in his starts…the Astros also won 7 of his last 10 starts.

  • went 7-1 with a 2.90 ERA (26ER/80.2IP) in his first 14 starts to begin the season…also recorded a 1.04 WHIP, 8 quality starts, and a .219 opponent batting average during that span.
  • in his 17 starts to finish the regular season, he recorded a 6.20 ERA (56ER/81.1IP) with a .248 opponent batting average, 3 quality starts and a 1.49 WHIP.
  • was better in September/October, recording a 4.11 ERA (14ER/30.2IP) with a 1.08 WHIP and a .198 opponent batting average….also recorded 40 strikeouts and 11 walks during his final 6 starts of the regular season.
  • allowed a .189 (53×281) opponent batting average and a .637 opponent OPS against right-handed hitters this season…lefties had better success, hitting .273 (90×330) with an .815 OPS opposite Javier.
  • was backed by huge run support on the season…ranked 3rd in the AL in run support average (5.83) (min. 150 IP).

500 CLUB: reached 500 career strikeouts during his outing on Sept. 3 vs. NYY…reached that number in his 104th career game, making him the 7th player in Astros history to reach 500 strikeouts within their first 104 career appearances (all coming with the Astros).

SILVER BOOT SERIES: in his regular season career vs. the Rangers, he’s recorded a 5-1 record with the Astros going 11-3 in his 14 appearances…has also recorded a 3.84 ERA (27ER/63.1IP) with 71 strikeouts, a 1.09 WHIP and a .197 opponent batting average.

LEAGUE LEADERBOARD: has pitched primarily as a starter over the last 2 seasons for the Astros (2022-23)…among qualifying AL pitchers over that span, ranks 4th in opponent average (.204) and 8th in strikeouts per 9.0 innings (10.23).

INVISIBALL: has held opponents to a .198 average (335×1688) throughout his MLB career…it’s the lowest opponent’s batting average among qualified AL pitchers since he entered the league in 2020, directly ahead of LAA RHP Shohei Ohtani (.199) and NYY RHP Gerrit Cole (.211).

HOME SWEET HOME: has fared well when pitching at Minute Maid Park throughout his career, going 17-8 with a 2.87 ERA (74ER/232IP) in 54 career home games (35 starts)…since his debut in 2020, his 2.87 ERA at home ranks 4th in the AL.

  • has recorded a 3.71 ERA (28ER/68IP) at home this season compared to a 5.17 ERA (54ER/94IP) on the road.
  • his 2.87 career ERA at Minute Maid Park ranks 5th in the ballpark’s history (min. 200 IP)…Roger Clemens ranks 1st with a 2.55 ERA (89ER/313.2IP).
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