LIVE: Astros vs. Rangers on FS1

October 20th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- The American League Championship Series is all knotted up at 2-2 after the Astros stormed into Globe Life Field to outscore the Rangers, 18-8, and steal wins in Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-seven series, setting the stage for a crucial Game 5.

“We definitely expected ourselves, even though we were down, 0-2, to come here and play good baseball,” said Astros outfielder Chas McCormick. “We’ve been doing it all year. That’s what we did the past two nights, and I think if we carry this momentum into tomorrow we’re in really good shape. We got a big one tomorrow. Tomorrow’s probably the biggest game -- they got their ace, we got our ace. It’s going to be a really big one.”

The Rangers and Astros now get a rematch of Game 1’s pitchers’ duel between Jordan Montgomery and Justin Verlander, which Texas won.

The road team has won the first four games of the ALCS. The Astros extended their winning streak at Globe Life Field to seven straight, and they have won eight of nine there for the year. During its winning streak at Globe Life Field, Houston has outscored Texas, 74-32.

“You don't like to lose like we've been losing with these guys,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “Earlier in September, they had their way with us. Especially in your home ballpark, here. We've got our fans. You hate to have a game go like this. And like I said, I was proud how the guys came back and battled into it. It's up to us to execute better, it's as simple as that.”

When is the game and how can I watch it?

Today's game is being televised in the U.S. on FS1.

All series are available in the U.S. on MLB.TV with authentication to a participating Pay TV provider. Games are available live internationally (except in Canada). Full game archives will be available approximately 90 minutes after the game ends.

Who are the starting pitchers?

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander

With their ace on the mound and a sterling track record at Globe Life Field, the Astros have to like their chances heading into Game 5. Verlander threw 101 pitches in his Game 1 start, allowing two runs over 6 2/3 innings in Houston’s 2-0 loss. The right-hander threw six scoreless frames vs. the Twins in Game 1 of the AL Division Series on Oct. 7. His Game 5 start will mark his 38th career postseason appearance. He has compiled a 3.51 career playoff ERA across 220 1/3 innings.

Rangers: LHP Jordan Montgomery

Montgomery got things rolling in Game 1 of the ALCS, sending the Rangers to a victory, and the big right-hander will take the mound again looking to push his team to a win in a pivotal Game 5. Montgomery held Houston scoreless over 6 1/3 innings in the opener. He has a 2.08 ERA over three outings this postseason.

What are the starting lineups?

Astros: Facing a lefty in Montgomery, manager Dusty Baker kept McCormick in the lineup since he hits lefties well. Mauricio Dubón is swinging a hot bat, and he has been starting in center field when Verlander is on the mound. Michael Brantley, a left-handed bat, is on the bench for the second game in a row.

Rangers: Bochy chose to stick with rookie sensation Evan Carter in the three-hole in Game 4, and he will likely continue to do so until another lefty starter comes to the mound. The skipper went with a different look after the cleanup spot, moving Leody Taveras and Josh Jung up in the order, while slotting Mitch Garver and Jonah Heim where Jung and Taveras were batting for most of the postseason.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?

Astros: After using all three of his high-leverage relievers -- Hector Neris, Bryan Abreu and closer Ryan Pressly – in Game 3, Baker was able to stay away from them in Game 4, which means they will be rested and ready for Game 5. If Verlander can give the Astros six innings, those are the three relief pitchers who will be used to cover the final nine outs.

Rangers: Bochy used everybody except his three best relievers in Josh Sborz, José Leclerc and Aroldis Chapman in the Games 3 and 4 losses, so they should be ready to go in high-leverage situations in Game 5 after two extra days of rest. All long relief options -- Andrew Heaney, Dane Dunning, Martín Pérez and Cody Bradford -- have been used in the past two days, and they are likely unavailable for Game 5.

Any injuries of note?

Astros: Relief pitcher Kendall Graveman is battling right shoulder discomfort and is not on the ALCS roster.

Rangers: With Scherzer and Jon Gray both being activated from the injured list for the ALCS, the Rangers are in relatively good health at this point. Reliever Jonathan Hernández was again left off the roster due to a right lat strain, an injury that Bochy said was sustained during Game 162, when Hernández tossed one perfect inning with two strikeouts in Texas’ 1-0 loss to Seattle.

Who’s hot, who’s not?

Astros: José Abreu homered again in Game 4, and he has hit three homers this postseason that have all traveled at least 430 feet. Jose Altuve, who played in his 100th postseason game Thursday, recorded his 10th postseason game with three-plus hits, tying him with Carlos Correa for third all time, behind Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams (both with 12).  

Kyle Tucker’s rough postseason continued in Game 4, when he went 0-for-5.

Rangers: Adolis García, who recorded his third homer of the postseason with a solo shot in the second inning, has hit safely in eight of nine playoff games. Corey Seager, who also homered, has reached base in eight of nine playoff games and has been on base 22 times. 

Mitch Garver was 0-for-3 in Game 4 and is batting .208 in the postseason.