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Lone Star Showdown: Do Texas Rangers Want Houston Astros in ALCS?

The Texas Rangers will face either the Houston Astros or Minnesota Twins in the American League Championship Series.

ARLINGTON, Texas – Do the Texas Rangers want the Houston Astros in the American League Championship Series?

The Astros, after all, have owned the American League West for years. They won the division again on the last day of the regular season due to the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rangers. Jose Altuve, Justin Verlander, Jose Abreu, Kyle Tucker and Alex Bregman wouldn’t be welcome in many North Texas homes.

And, of course, Houston is the defending champion.

So, that would seem enough motivation for an all-Lone Star State showdown with a trip to the World Series as the prize.

Texas manager Bruce Bochy was asked point blank after Tuesday night’s 7-1 victory to complete a three-game ALDS sweep of the Baltimore Orioles if the Rangers want the Astros.

Oct 10, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; The Texas Rangers celebrate in the locker room after defeating the Baltimore Orioles in game three of the ALDS for the 2023 MLB playoffs at Globe Life Field. Nathan Eovaldi. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan Eovaldi and the Rangers celebrated after clinching a trip to the ALCS.

“I haven’t been thinking about anything but trying to win this series,” he said diplomatically. “I’m a game at a time, series at a time. That’s as far as I can go. But could happen. You don’t know. But I’m just excited to hear we’re in the championship series.”

The Rangers will face Houston or the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS starting Sunday. The Astros and Twins play Game 4 of their ALDS on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Minneapolis. Houston leads the best-of-five series 2-1 and needs one win to advance.

Adolis García, one of the heroes of the ALDS clincher, also chose his words wisely when asked about facing either the Astros or Twins. If there’s a preference – and it feels like maybe there is – the All-Star slugger isn’t sharing.

“I think I don’t really want to say a lot on that,” García said. “I think we’re just ready to face any opponent and anyone that’s there.”

The Rangers were, if anything, motivated to finish off Baltimore. Playing before a record crowd at Globe Life Field, Texas cemented the franchise’s third-ever trip to the ALCS. The others were in 2010 and 2011, with both playoff runs ending in the World Series.

The Rangers are just 13th team in MLB history to open a postseason with at least five consecutive victories, having outscored the Tampa Bay Rays and Orioles by a combined 32-12. Nathan Eovaldi picked up wins in both series clinchers.

But before this magical run started, Texas lost 1-0 at the Seattle Mariners in the regular-season finale. That cost the Rangers the AL West title and homefield advantage in at least the ALDS.

Make no mistake, the Rangers wanted the division crown. But instead of sulking, they soared. And with a chance to eliminate Baltimore, nothing was left to chance.

“I saw a team that was really motivated,” Bochy said. “The fans, they were so into it. They came out swinging. But the story is Nate, the job he did out there on the mound to help set the tone. But the offense, everybody was doing something to contribute.”

Corey Seager and García both homered early. Mitch Garver added a two-run double in the five-run second inning. Eovaldi became just the third pitcher in MLB postseason history with at least 15 strikeouts and no walks over a two-game span.

“For us to play the kind of ball that we have been playing since we went to Tampa and, of course, against Baltimore,” Bochy added, “I just told the guys, it’s incredible how well they’ve been clicking in all facets of the game.”

Now it’s on to the ALCS where either the Astros or Twins await. Apparently, wink-wink, there is no preference.

You can follow Art Garcia on Twitter @ArtGarcia92.

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