Here's who has the edge in Astros-Rangers intrastate ALCS slobberknocker

STONE COLD 'STROS

The ALCS is set with the Texas Rangers heading to Minute Maid Park to play the Astros in Game 1 on Sunday night.

It's no secret that these teams don't like one another, so it should make for an entertaining series. Houston will send Justin Verlander to the mound to face LHP Jordan Montgomery in the first game.

It will be interesting to see if Dusty Baker will start Michael Brantley against the lefty, or if we'll see Mauricio Dubon and Chas McCormick in the outfield, with Yordan Alvarez hitting DH. When Brantley and McCormick are both playing, the Astros lineup gets scary deep. Rest could be a factor for Uncle Mike and his shoulder, but he'll have three days off before the team plays Sunday.

Tale of the Tape

The Rangers had the more potent offense in the regular season, but this is the playoffs. Just look at how different a hitter Jose Abreu is right now compared to the regular season.

As far as pitching goes, the Astros get the edge in the bullpen. One could argue that the starting pitching is a wash, and we don't know how Rangers ace Max Scherzer and Jon Gray will factor in as they're trying to return from injury.

Don't miss the video above as we preview the Rangers series and much more!

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What could hold the Texans back this season? Composite Getty Image.

We made it! Training camp is officially here, with all the Texans players having reported to the team and set to take the field this Thursday.

And while the Texans are the favorites to win the division, there are some areas of concern heading into the season.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show and shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a lot of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Kimes also pointed to Slowik's insistence on staying committed to the running game even when the team was having zero success on the ground. Hopefully that issue will get corrected either through better results in the run game, or putting the ball in CJ Stroud's hands when the ground game is repeatedly getting stuffed.

On defense, both Kimes and Bien-Aime named Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. He also strongly believes that rookie cornerback Kamari Lassiter will start opposite Stingley as the team's No. 2 corner.

The Texans certainly have concerns at defensive tackle with Sheldon Rankins and Malik Collins gone, but the secondary has to be the biggest worry in a pass-heavy NFL. Not to mention the level of quarterback play the Texans will face while dealing with a first-place schedule this year.

If you love hearing informed football analysts talking ball, this is the video for you. They cover all things Texans and give a full preview of the AFC South, plus predictions!

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