Astros name Valdez, Garcia as Games 1, 2 starters for ALCS

Cooper Neill / Major League Baseball / Getty

The Houston Astros have tabbed Framber Valdez and Luis Garcia as the Games 1 and 2 starters, respectively, for the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, manager Dusty Baker said Thursday, according to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle.

The series is scheduled to get underway in Houston on Friday.

Lance McCullers Jr. is notably absent from the rotation in the first two games after leaving Game 4 of the ALDS against the Chicago White Sox due to right forearm tightness following just four innings. It's unclear whether the right-hander will be included on the ALCS roster.

Valdez, 27, started Game 2 of the ALDS, allowing four runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out six over 4 1/3 innings of work. The right-hander authored a 3.14 ERA and 4.01 FIP over 134 2/3 innings this year while making 22 starts. His 70.3% groundball rate led all pitchers with at least 60 innings thrown.

Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Garcia emerged as a candidate to win AL Rookie of the Year this season, posting a 3.30 ERA and 3.63 FIP over 155 1/3 innings. The righty was hit around in Game 3 of the ALDS, surrendering five runs on five hits and three walks while striking out three in 2 2/3 innings.

The Red Sox rotation isn't yet set, though manager Alex Cora confirmed on Wednesday that Chris Sale will be used as a starter.

Astros name Valdez, Garcia as Games 1, 2 starters for ALCS
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