Nathan Eovaldi will start Game 2 of the ALCS for the Texas Rangers, it was announced today. He will be going up against Framber Valdez for the Houston Astros.
The natural ordering of the rotation lined up such that Eovaldi would be expected to start Game 2. However, given that whoever the other two starters would be for the Rangers in this series are likely to be pitchers who aren’t necessarily going to go deep into the game, there was some thought that Eovaldi would be held back for Game 3 (and a possible Game 7 in Houston). Someone such as, say, Max Scherzer could start Game 2, have the bullpen carry a heavy load behind him, and then have the off day before Game 3.
Valdez is the only lefthander pitcher who would be expected to start for the Astros in this series. The Rangers have yet to face a lefty starter in the playoffs, which has meant that Evan Carter, who has made only one start against a lefthander in the majors this season, has been in the lineup every game. It will be interesting to see if Bruce Bochy has Robbie Grossman start in left field against Valdez in Game 2, with Carter coming in once Valdez is out of the game, or if Carter gets the nod against the lefty, with Grossman or Mitch Garver at DH.