By: Nicholas Gilanfar
Nearly two years removed from a 102-loss season the Texas Rangers are approaching their last stop in this marvelous postseason tour, the Fall Classic. On Monday the Texas Rangers defeated the Houston Astros in game seven to secure the franchise’s third American League Pennant in team history. For the first time this postseason, Texas will be granted home-field advantage as they set to take on the National League Champions the Arizona Diamondbacks who are also two years removed from a 100+ loss season.
In 2021, the Arizona Diamondbacks held the worst record in major league baseball at 52-110. It was a patient rebuild as the team is solely represented by homegrown players as they just started to burst onto the scene this year. During the season they had a similar run to the Rangers as they led the NL West for the majority of the season and eventually lost the rights to the Dodgers with serious questions on if they would even make the postseason.
The World Series matchup versus Texas and Arizona is solely something not many people had in mind come the start of the season as you had an idea right off the jump on who would be your contenders. With Texas finishing 60-102 and Arizona finishing 52-110 it will mark the lowest record in a span of two years to ever feature in the World Series.
Texas Rangers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks Schedule
Friday, October 27 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks. 7:03 PM (CST)
Saturday, October 28 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks. 7:03 PM (CST)
Monday, October 30 @ Arizona Diamondbacks. 7:03 PM (CST)
Tuesday, October 31 @ Arizona Diamondbacks. 7:03 PM (CST)
Wednesday, November 1 @ Arizona Diamondbacks. 7:03 PM (CST) (If Necessary)
Friday, November 3 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks. 7:03 PM (CST) (If Necessary)
Saturday, November 4 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks. 7:03 PM (CST) (If Necessary)
Rangers vs. Diamondbacks Head-to-Head in 2023
Because the two teams reside in different leagues, they only saw each other for two series of two games as they are considered “interleague rivals”. The first series took place at the beginning of the season at Globe Life Field in Arlington, and the second series took place in late August at Chase Field as the Diamondbacks were able to win three out of four games against the Rangers in 2023.
When the league champions met in May, there was a lot of anticipation leading up to it as both teams started surprisingly hot but were still unknown about what they could do down the stretch. The Rangers were able to grab game one 6-4 as they were up against Arizona’s ace Zac Gallen who got plucked early, letting up four runs through the first three innings.
As for the second game, Arizona starter Brandon Pfaadt made his major league debut at the time but was immediately overwhelmed by the Rangers offense as he was only able to pitch 4.2 innings while letting up seven runs. Although the Diamondbacks let up seven runs through five innings, the Rangers were on pace to do the same as they did not stand a chance against the elite Arizona bullpen and ultimately lost that game 12-7.
The second two-game stretch took place during the dog days of the eight-game losing streak as things were looking bleak due to not being able to string quality wins together. Texas went into Arizona playing two close games and dropping both of them. The Rangers stayed competitive in both games as they lost 4-3 in game one and 6-3 in game two. This time around things will be different as we have found our groove at the right time as well as having a healthy and rejuvenated roster.
Texas Rangers Scouting Report
The Texas Rangers have not missed a beat the entire postseason as they have a record of 9-3 through the first three rounds as they approach their third chance at a World Series Title. Not long ago, the Rangers were in the basement of the MLB as the lengthy rebuild took place for seven seasons. Luckily the wait is over, and the World Series will be going through Texas.
Last year the Rangers were forced to part ways with Manager Chris Woodward and GM Jon Daniels as both Bruce Bochy and Chris Young are in their debut seasons in their respective positions. Yes, down the line, it was the goal to make it back to the postseason, but nobody would have guessed prior to the season that things would click this fast with the new regime.
The Rangers are coming off of a miraculous seven-game series against reigning world series champions Houston Astros and defeated them in seven games. A notable storyline during the ALCS was the pure domination from Adolis Garcia as he had a batting average of .379 with 15 RBIs and five Home Runs. The 15 RBIs Garcia scored in the ALCS marks the most in any playoff series in MLB history. Garcia looks to build on his dynamic performance as he and the Texas Rangers approach the most important series in team history.
Texas Rangers Projected Starting Rotation
Nathan Eovaldi (Game 1)
Jordan Montgomery (Game 2)
Max Scherzer (Game 3)
Andrew Heaney/Dane Dunning/ Jon Gray (Game 4)
Nathan Eovaldi will be getting the ball for game one as this will be his first game one start of the postseason after Montgomery has been serving previously as the game one starter. Since Montgomery was plugged into tandem with Scherzer in game seven, it was a no-brainer to roll out the hot hand in Nathan Eovaldi for game one as he has started four games with a record of 4-0 and a 2.24 ERA. Eovaldi was a free agent acquisition in the offseason as he grew up in the same town of Nolan Ryan, Alvin Texas as Eovaldi will be approaching his legacy game in the World Series.
As for Jordan Montgomery, the trade deadline acquisition has meant wonders for the Rangers in the postseason as he has been the backbone during the 2023 postseason run. There is always a high level of confidence every time Montgomery is out to pitch as he has been a man on a mission for some time after being dealt by the New York Yankees in 2022 to St. Louis as Yankees GM Brian Cashman did not see playoff potential in the ace.
For Game three it is likely Max Scherzer will return to the mound as this will be his third game back removed from injury it has been tough sailing returning to his normal workload as he has recently appeared in two games with a 0-1 record and a 9.45 ERA. This time around the Rangers are hoping to get high production out of Scherzer as he started to get more adjusted towards the end of Game seven in the ALCS.
Regarding the Game 4 starter, it may come as a mystery for most. The runaway answer for that question would likely be Andrew Heaney based on his role in the rotation, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise if they go to a different approach through the likes of Dane Dunning and Jon Gray as they have many viable starters coming out of the bullpen. When talking about Jon Gray, he as well as Scherzer has just returned from injury he will look to get to his normal workload as well to maybe one day return to the starting rotation.
Arizona Diamondbacks Scouting Report
The Arizona Diamondbacks have rallied through a highly impressive postseason so far as they have defeated three highly touted contenders in the Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Philadelphia Phillies. Arizona finished the year at 84-78 barely sneaking into the world card as they secured the 6th seed in winding moments of the season as the NL Wild Card race was considered a dogfight.
Arizona is a young and exciting team as they have rebuilt the club solely through prospects. One prospect to look after in the World Series is potential rookie of the year outfielder Corbin Carrol as he has taken the league by storm with his dynamic offensive abilities as well as his speed when rounding the bases. Although the youth movement has been a factor in the Arizona Diamondbacks playoff run, nobody deserves more credit than 2B Ketel Marte. Marte stuck with Arizona for their entire rebuild and has battled injuries through the last couple of years. Marte was rewarded as the NLCS MVP as he has been hitting a batting average of .358 and has a current hitting streak of 16 games which is one game behind the all-time record.
Through all the plays and great moments made during the Diamondbacks’ postseason run, the majority of the credit will fall on the dynamic bullpen. The ERA out of the bullpen through 12 postseason games is 2.94 as they have been able to shut three solid teams out of the playoffs with the high-leverage relievers. The Ring Leaders during the playoff run out of the bullpen have been Zack Ginkel and Paul Sewald who have yet to let up a single run in the postseason.
Arizona Diamondbacks Projected Pitching Rotation
Zac Gallen (Game 1)
Merrill Kelly (Game 2)
Brandon Pfaadt (Game 3)
The Diamondbacks ace will be taking the mound for game one as Zac Gallen had a career year in Arizona this year with a record of 17-9 and an ERA of 3.47. Most the Arizona’s success of late has to do with the likes of dominant mound performances from the ace. This postseason Gallen has a record of 2-2 with a 5.24 ERA. Although the ERA is high, don’t let that fool you as Gallen is rather aggressive when it comes to punching out hitters in a high-stakes atmosphere.
Merrill Kelly is slated to get the ball for game two as he also had a career year going 12-8 with a 3.29 ERA. When Kelly has his best stop on the mound it is unlikely for him to slow down as he is really good at maintaining his workload and composure on the mound. Kelly has had a notably good postseason as he has recorded a 2-1 record with a 2.65 ERA.
For Game three, rookie Brandon Pfaadt will be taking the mound against the team he made his major league debut against. It was a rocky first season for Pfaadt as he had a 3-9 record and a 5.72 ERA. Through the postseason though the young arm has been able to hold his own as he has appeared in four postseason games so far logging an ERA of 2.70.
Photo Via Texas Rangers/X