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Astros vs. Rangers: Justin Verlander starts, ALCS Game 1 score, time, TV channel

The Texas Rangers and Houston Astros face off in the ALCS, with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer reuniting on opposite sides.

The focus of this year's ALCS is on the state of Texas. The Texas Rangers have had a perfect record of 5-0 leading up to this series, but they face a formidable opponent in the Houston Astros, who have a historical reputation of being unstoppable in the playoffs.

Interestingly, two pitchers in their forties, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, find themselves reunited once again, but this time on opposing teams. The Rangers announced on Sunday that Scherzer, who is 39 years old, will be activated for the ALCS. He is expected to start either Game 3 or 4 when the series moves from Houston to Arlington. This will be Scherzer's first start since he suffered a teres major strain in his throwing shoulder during his last start on September 13.

Verlander and Scherzer, both making a hefty $43.3 million this season, were originally meant to be the backbone of the New York Mets, a team known for its high payroll. However, their plans took a turn when Verlander, who is 40 years old, suffered his own teres major strain just before Opening Day. Along with fellow starter Jose Quintana's rib injury sidelining him for the first half of the season, the Mets struggled to find their footing.

Verlander was eventually traded back to Houston in July, while Scherzer was sent to the Rangers just days later. Now, these former Detroit Tigers teammates find themselves facing each other in a significant series once again. They previously faced off in the 2019 World Series, where Scherzer started and won Game 1 and also started Game 7 for the victorious Washington Nationals. Verlander started and lost both Games 2 and 6. Manager Bruce Bochy even mentioned that Scherzer would be available in an extra-inning situation in Game 1.

In Game 1 of the ALCS, Verlander took the mound for the Astros, and it is likely that he will also start Game 5 in Arlington. Depending on how Verlander performs, Scherzer may be called upon if the series goes to Games 6 or 7 in Houston.

Scherzer's return comes at a crucial time for the Rangers. They managed to sweep the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS with the help of a successful "piggyback" game featuring Andrew Heaney and Dane Dunning. In the best-of-seven format of the ALCS, the Rangers are hoping that Scherzer can provide stability to their rotation, along with Jon Gray, who was activated after recovering from a forearm strain. Bochy expressed hope that Gray will start one of the games in Arlington.

It is worth noting that both teams have the Mets to thank for strengthening their rosters.

The first game of the ALCS between the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers is scheduled to begin at 8:15 p.m. and will be televised on Fox.

In addition to the exciting matchup between the two teams, the ALCS also features a face-off between the oldest managers in MLB, Dusty Baker and Bruce Bochy. When asked about their age, Baker shared a humorous anecdote about his conversation with Bochy regarding retirement. Despite their friendly banter, Baker expressed his respect for Bochy.

The lineups and starting pitchers for Game 1 of the ALCS are as follows:

Texas Rangers:
- Starting pitcher: LHP Jordan Montgomery, who had a regular season record of 10-11 with a 3.20 ERA. In the 2023 postseason, he has maintained a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings.

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