TEXAS (KFDX/KJTL) — For the first time in history, Texas’ two Major League Baseball franchises will meet in the postseason during the American League Championship Series.
The Texas Rangers secured a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, and the Houston Astros defeated the Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Wednesday, October 11, 2023, securing a victory in the American League Division Series after four games.
The ALCS matchup between the Rangers and the Astros guarantees that the entire series will be played in the state of Texas, either at Minute Maid Park in Houston or Globe Life Field in Arlington. It also guarantees that a Texas team will represent the American League in the 2023 World Series.
The Rangers seem to be heating up at just the right time. In two postseason series, they have yet to lose a game, scoring seven or more runs in three of their last five games, with 11 runs coming in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Orioles.
The Astros have only lost one postseason game thus far, and Houston’s playoff victories extend a hot streak that began in the final month of the MLB regular season.
Texas and Houston in the 2023 regular season
The Rangers were in control of the American League West division for a majority of the season, but a stretch of losing streaks in late August and September saw them fall out of first place after holding the top spot for more than 100 days.
The Astros were in the hunt for the AL West title for nearly the entire regular season, and when the Rangers began to falter in the final months of the season, the Astros rose to take the top spot. The division title came down to the last game of the season, at which point, a Rangers loss and an Astros win gave the title to Houston.
Statistically, Texas and Houston are nearly evenly matched in every measurable category, with Texas having a slight edge at the plate and Houston having the advantage on the mound.
Texas and Houston ended the 2023 regular season with the same exact record of 90-72. The Astros were crowned champions of the American League West division by virtue of a tie-breaker since their record against the Rangers was 9-4 during the regular season.
The last time the Rangers made it to the postseason was in 2016, which, ironically enough, was the last time the Astros failed to make it to the playoffs. Their seven straight postseason appearances is the longest active streak in the MLB.
The history of the Lone Star Series
The two Texas teams first played against each other on June 8, 2001. Known as “The Lone Star Series” and the “Silver Boot Series”, the Astros and the Rangers have faced off a total of 266 times, with Texas winning 134 times and Houston winning 132 times.
The 267th meeting of the Astros and the Rangers will be the first time the two teams have met in the postseason, since the Astros were in the National League until 2013, and the only way a postseason matchup would’ve been possible then would have been in the World Series.
The rivalry between the two teams has grown in intensity over the last 15 years,
Another contributing factor to the growth of the rivalry is a Hall Of Fame pitcher who once played for both organizations; Nolan Ryan.
Ryan spent nine seasons with the Houston Astros between 1980 and 1988. The following year, he would sign with the Texas Rangers, spending the final five seasons of his career in Arlington.
Ryan eventually became a part of the front-office staff of the Texas Rangers and was a pivotal part of the organization’s success in 2010 and 2011, the only years the Rangers have ever made it to the World Series. After becoming CEO of the organization, he resigned from the team in 2013.
In 2014, Ryan became a part of the Houston Astros front-office staff. Shortly thereafter, the Astros became a legitimate contender year after year in the American League, eventually winning two World Series titles in 2017 and 2022.
At the same time that the Astros were becoming a more competitive franchise in the MLB, the Rangers began a decline that would last more than a decade. The Astros’ rise to prominence when Ryan came to Houston at the same time as the Rangers’ decline once he left Arlington is often referred to by fans as “The Curse of Nolan Ryan.”
The ALCS matchup between Texas and Houston sets up to be a high point in the heated in-state rivalry between the two franchises.
The Silver Boot’s first postseason appearance
The ALCS will be played in Houston for the first two games, then in Arlington for the next three, and, if necessary, back to Houston for the sixth and seventh game of the series. The first team to win four games will face the winner of the NLCS in the World Series.
The schedule of ALCS games can be found below. Times have not yet been determined.
- Game 1 — Sunday, October 15, 2023 — Minute Maid Park (Houston)
- Game 2 — Monday, October 16, 2023 — Minute Maid Park (Houston)
- Game 3 — Wednesday, October 18, 2023 — Globe Life Field (Arlington)
- Game 4 — Thursday, October 19, 2023 — Globe Life Field (Arlington)
- Game 5 — Friday, October 22, 2023 — Globe Life Field (Arlington)
- Game 6 — Sunday, October 22, 2023 — Minute Maid Park (Houston)
- Game 7 — Monday, October 23, 2023 — Minute Maid Park (Houston)