ALCS Preview: The Battle of Texas Determines World Series Trip

The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros face off in the ALCS battle of Texas. The winner will make the trip to the 2023 World Series.

The two teams are in different areas of the championship window.

For the Rangers, this is their first appearance in the postseason since 2016 and their first ALCS trip since 2011.

On the other hand, the Astros have continued one of the greatest dynasties in the sport since 2000. The team has now made the Championship Series for the seventh consecutive season — the second-longest streak in MLB history, after defeating the Minnesota Twins 3-1 in the ALDS. The Astros have won two World Series Championships since 2017.

Houston has continued their success, despite much of the previous core leaving the team or retiring. The Astros are masters at developing young players who perform well in the postseason lights.

Despite dominating big-league pitching for five seasons, designated hitter Yordan Alvarez continues to be one of the most underrated sluggers in the league. Alvarez is 7/16 during the 2023 postseason and has mashed four home runs during the Divisional Series alone.

The two-time All-Star and Rookie of the Year leads all postseason players in home runs and leads the Astros in both batting average and OPS.

While second-year shortstop Jeremy Peña has struggled during the team’s four postseason games, he came up big during the team’s 2022 World Series run. Pena took home the World Series Most Valuable Player award.

Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman are the final two tenured players from the original 2017 Astros team. 

While both players have struggled during the 2023 postseason, they have consistently performed during Houston’s previous postseason trips. Altuve and Bregman are huge reasons for the Astros’ continued success.

Lastly, the Astros filled a hole during the 2022 off-season by signing veteran first baseman Jose Abreu, who spent his first nine seasons with the Chicago White Sox. Abreu is one of four Astros hitting above .300 during the postseason and is a big reason for the team’s seventh-consecutive ALCS.

On the other hand, the Texas Rangers earned impressive performances during the 3-0 sweep of the 101-win Baltimore Orioles. Some key pieces during the 2023 postseason are homegrown, while others signed with Texas via free agency.

Both Josh Jung and Evan Carter have shined in the postseason and were drafted by the Rangers. Both young sluggers have smashed a home run this postseason and have been important to the Rangers’ trip to the American League Divisional Series.

Veteran shortstop Corey Seager signed a $300+ million contract before the 2022 season. Seager has exceeded expectations through the first two seasons. Seager put together his best regular season performance in 2023, and he will receive MVP votes when voting concludes.

His previous postseason experience with the Los Angeles Dodgers has become obvious in 2023. He has hit a home run and leads the Rangers in both batting average and OPS.

Every postseason matchup has featured incredible storylines and moments. The American League West rivalry will not disappoint. The ALCS Battle of Texas will determine a trip to the 2023 World Series. The first pitch is at 8:15 ET on Sunday, Oct. 15. 

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