Jordan Montgomery upstaged Justin Verlander in the opening game of the American League Championship Series as the visiting Texas Rangers remained perfect in the postseason. The defending World Series champion Houston Astros are favored by the MLB betting lines to even the series in Game 2.
Montgomery, who began the season with the St. Louis Cardinals, teamed with three relief pitchers on a five-hit shutout while rookie Evan Carter came up with two key defensive plays in the outfield and scored the only run Texas needed in the series opener.
The Astros turn to Framber Valdez to try to even the series. He struggled in his first postseason start this year but was 3-0 in four postseason starts in last year’s run to the World Series title for the Astros.
Nathan Eovaldi will pitch for the Rangers. Eovaldi was showing up in the MLB Cy Young odds earlier in the season. He is 2-0 so far in this year’s playoffs but 2-2 against the Astros in the postseason during his career.
The MLB betting lines have the Astros priced at -118 to win Game 2. The Astros are 43-30 this season following a loss.
When looking at the MLB playoff odds, the Rangers saw their odds to win the series move from +110 to -190 odds after the Game 1 win with the Astros now priced at +160 in the series odds after opening at -140 in the series odds. Texas now has the best odds at +175 to win the World Series with Houston’s championship odds moving to +300 after the Game 1 loss.
Nathan Eovaldi (12-5, 3.63 ERA) vs. Framber Valdez (12-11, 3.45)
Eovaldi has won both of his postseason starts and he is 8-3 with a 2.70 ERA in the postseason in his career. Two of the three losses came against Houston when he was a key member of the Boston Red Sox pitching staff.
Eovaldi has allowed 11 hits and two runs with 15 strikeouts in 13⅔ innings in two starts in the 2023 postseason. After tossing seven shutout innings in his first start against the Astros this season, he gave up five hits, two home runs and four runs while retiring just four batters in a Sept. 5 start.
After allowing nine hits and 10 runs (nine earned) in 9⅓ innings in his last two starts, Valdez continued to struggle in his first postseason outing. He allowed seven hits and five runs in 4⅓ innings in a loss to Minnesota.
Valdez was 3-0 with an ERA of 1.44 in four postseason starts during Houston’s run to the 2022 World Series title and will be counted on to recapture that form.
When Valdez squared off against Eovaldi on Sept. 5, he allowed six hits and one run in seven innings in a 14-1 win by the Astros. In his first two starts against the Rangers, he surrendered 12 hits and 11 runs in 9⅔ innings.
Astros Ready to Take Their Cuts
In the series opener, Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez were a combined 0-for-7 with Alvarez striking out three times. Altuve did walk in the eighth inning, but he was doubled up after a brilliant play by Texas rookie outfielder Evan Carter to keep Houston from bringing the tying run to the plate.
— MLB (@MLB) October 16, 2023
With the postseason track record of Altuve and Alvarez, expect them to have more of a positive impact on the outcome of this game.
Both Altuve and Alvarez could be popular Oct. 16 MLB prop bet picks in Game 2.
Rangers vs Astros Betting Lines
Don’t Expect Another 2-0 Score
Houston and Texas were two of the top hitting teams during the regular season with rookies Carter and Josh Jung continuing to swing the bats in the postseason. The Houston lineup is full of players who are proven playoff producers so look for the hits to come early and often after both teams had just three at-bats in the series opener with runners in scoring position.
Six of the last eight games between the teams finished over the total. Keep an eye on the odds for home runs today with power hitters Alvarev and Jose Abreu joining Texas’ Adolis Garcia and Corey Seager as possible options.
Houston won nine of the 13 games during the regular season, including seven wins in the last eight contests, and while this is not an elimination game, the Astros do not want to hit the road trailing 0-2 in this series.
MLB Pick: Game to go over 8½-run total (Ev)
Rangers vs Astros Game Information
- Game: Rangers vs Astros
- Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston
- Date: Monday, Oct. 16, 4:37 p.m. ET
- Rangers vs Astros Live Stream: MLB.tv
Which team is more likely to hit more home runs in ALCS Game 2 on Oct. 16?
Look for the Houston Astros to come up with some big hits in Game 2 after being held to five singles in the series opener.
Which MLB props for ALCS Game 2 have the highest odds of hitting?
Go with the red-hot Yordan Alvarez of Houston and Josh Jung of Texas to go over 1½ total bases.