By: Nicholas Gilanfar
During the Texas Rangers highly anticipating game one of the playoffs, they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 to take game one out of a three-game series.
Travel-wise, the Rangers have covered a lot of ground, being in Seattle this past weekend and then having to board a five-and-a-half-hour cross-country drive to Tampa Bay. The brutal travel week did not slow the Rangers down as the game featured an unstoppable performance from starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery as well as a turbulent Tampa Bay Rays defense.
A Pitching Masterclass
The Rangers victory was solely propelled by the dynamic left-hander Jordan Montgomery who pitched seven scoreless innings, letting up six hits, no runs, no walks, and five strikeouts. Since arriving in Texas, Montgomery has emerged as the club’s viable option as the ace. He executed in all facets of the game as there was an instance in the second inning with one out and batters on the corners where Tampa Bay outfielder Jose Siri bunts mid-field to where Montgomery snags the ball via a dolphin dive as he was a man on a mission to secure the team’s first playoff win since 2015.
Followed by Montgomery’s seven scoreless innings, the eighth inning was pitched by Aroldis Chapman, and the ninth inning was pitched by Jose Leclerc. Due to recent negative trends in the bullpen, these are the only two pitchers we have been able to instill trust with despite a 4-0 lead. It will be interesting moving forward in the wild card series if Manager Bruce Bochy elects to pitch them in Game 2, and Game 3 in possible high-leverage situations.
Tampa Bay’s Appalling Defense
Despite a well-pitched game from the Tampa Bay Rays starter, Tyler Glasnow he had no help whatsoever in the field as Tampa Bay finished the outing with four errors which sets a record for most errors in a postseason game in franchise history. Out of the four errors, two of them were runs by virtue of a wild pitch as well as a miscalculated throw to first base. Again, Tampa Bay has been suffering the injury bug as their primary middle infield 2B Brandon Lowe and SS Wander Franco are hurt/unavailable.
Rangers Missed Opportunities and Efficient Plate Discipline
Although the Rangers dominated on the scoreboard, they still had a tough time capitalizing on overall offensive opportunities that did not include miscues from the Tampa Bay defense. Throughout the game, there were a potential 13 runners in scoring position today as the Rangers hit 2-13 in that scenario. The Rangers left multiple innings with the bases loaded as it did not seem like they were able to allude to the pressure in game one.
Besides the lackluster performance in RISP, the Rangers had incredible plate discipline forcing six walks through the entire game led by two walks from rookie Evan Carter who had an outstanding game for the Rangers. For a 21-year-old the plate discipline the Rangers have been seeing is a force to be reckoned with.
AL Wild Card Game 2 pitching matchups
With the Rangers clinching game one, they now have a chance to punch their ticket to the ALDS with a win tomorrow. If the Rangers lose tomorrow, they will be forced to play a game three on Thursday.
Wednesday, October 4, 2:08 PM (CST)
TEX Nathan Eovaldi vs. TB Zach Eflin
Featured Image via AP Photo/John Raoux