The Texas Rangers have squandered their 2-0 lead over the Houston Astros in the ALCS, failing to win a single game at home last week. Now they must win Game 6 in Houston tonight if they want to force Game 7 and keep their season alive.
Not surprisingly, the Rangers are betting underdogs for tonight's contest. Not only are they coming off three straight losses, but they're also on the road against the defending World Series champions.
Fortunately, all hope isn't lost just yet. Texas already won the first two games of the series in Houston, so there's no reason it can't win there again.
Think the Rangers can upset the Astros tonight? Here are three reasons why it's possible.
Keys to Rangers Winning ALCS Game 6
1. Get Another Gem from Nate Eovaldi
Fortunately for Texas, it has its best postseason pitcher on the mound tonight in Nate Eovaldi.
Eovaldi has been lights-out in the playoffs, including his previous start against Houston in Game 2. The two-time All-Star kept the Astros at bay for the most part, yielding 3 runs on 5 hits and 1 walk with 9 strikeouts over 6 innings.
The Rangers won that game 5-4, and haven't won since.
Prior to that, Eovaldi allowed just 1 run in each of his previous two playoff starts, dominating the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles. He's gone at least 6 innings in all 3 of his starts this month, racking up at least 7 strikeouts in each one and going 3-0 with a 2.29 ERA. If he can go deep into this game and save the bullpen for Game 7 tomorrow, that will be even better.
Texas will need another start like that from Eovaldi if it wants to win tonight. Fortunately, he's delivered plenty of them throughout his career, going 7-3 with a 2.87 ERA and 65 strikeouts across 62 2/3 postseason innings.
Eovaldi is one of the best big-game pitchers in the sport right now, and he's exactly who we want on the mound tonight. Don't be surprised if he comes through for us again and forces Game 7.