Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers' Adolis Garcia reacts after hitting a grand slam during the ninth inning of Game 6 of the baseball AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Rangers Face Diamondbacks in 2023 World Series

The Texas Rangers will take on the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2023 World Series. For both teams, making it this far would have looked very surprising just two seasons ago. In the 2021 MLB regular season, Arizona finished tied for the most losses in baseball with 110. Meanwhile, Texas finished with the third worst record in baseball at 60-102. Thursday, Diamondbacks right-handed pitcher Zac Gallen talked about the lack of public expectations for the club.

Both teams used different approaches in the past two seasons to construct their teams. Nonetheless, both Arizona and Texas each produced hot streaks during the playoffs to make it into the World Series.

Arizona’s Development Combined with Veteran Additions

The Diamondbacks started the season with the ninth-lowest payroll in baseball at $116,471,292. Three of Arizona’s top five prospects from 2021 have become key contributors to this run. The main contributor is outfielder Corbin Carroll, who led the Diamondbacks with a .868 OPS. Carroll has become one of the favorites for the Rookie of the Year award after putting up impressive numbers in his first full season in the major leagues. His development has been crucial for Arizona, and he will be around for awhile after signing an eight-year contract extension in the offseason.

Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo has also been a huge contribution in October. He became an All Star this season and improved his overall offensive numbers from 2022-23. So far this postseason, Perdomo has 10 hits in 36 at-bats with an .810 OPS.

Centerfielder Alek Thomas struggled in the regular season offensively, but his defensive numbers were solid. In the postseason, Thomas has stepped up with his bat. So far, he has seven hits in 33 at-bats but four of the hits are home runs. His biggest one came in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies when Thomas tied the game with a two-run home run. Ultimately, Arizona went on to win that game and the series in seven games.

The Diamondbacks have multiple veterans that have contributed substantially, as well. One of the talents is NLCS MVP Ketel Marte, who has a 16-game hitting streak in the postseason. The Diamondbacks acquired Marte from the Mariners before the 2017 season and he has become a key part of an emerging core. First baseman Christian Walker was selected off waivers in 2017, and he has hit well for Arizona.

This past offseason, Arizona traded outfielder Daulton Varsho for catcher Gabriel Moreno and left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Moreno hit two go-ahead RBI singles to win Games 4 and 7 against the Phillies. Gurriel Jr. hit a game-tying RBI double in Game 3 and homered in a Game 6 win in the NLCS.

Arizona’s pitching has also seen its fair share of development. Gallen, who will start Game 1, made his first All Star Game with a 3.47 ERA this season. Rookie Brandon Pfaadt, who struggled during the regular season, has put together a strong postseason, giving up just five runs in 16.2 innings. In the bullpen, one reliever has stood out for the Diamondbacks this postseason. Kevin Ginkel has pitched a total of nine innings in the postseason with 13 strikeouts and has yet to allow a run.

The development has certainly helped the Diamondbacks, but the veteran acquisitions have shored up the team. In particular, manager Torey Lovullo praised the leadership from 16-year veteran Evan Longoria, who signed in the offseason.

In addition, trades for outfielder Tommy Pham and reliever Paul Sewald have given Arizona the veteran pieces for the team. Pham did not do too well in the NLCS, but his home run in Game 6 helped extend the series. Sewald, like Ginkel, has yet to allow a run all postseason.

Big Splash Acquisitions for the Rangers with Developing Talents

The one similarity between both has been the development of talents within the organization. Both left fielder Evan Carter and third baseman Josh Jung came through the system and have become two of the key pieces in the Rangers’ playoff run. The Rangers acquired catcher Jonah Heim and first baseman Nathaniel Lowe in trades in past years, and the two hit well in the American League Championship Series win over the Houston Astros.

The big developing piece for the Rangers is outfielder Adolis Garcia, who was named the ALCS MVP. Although he has been a solid player for three years now, his journey is probably the most intriguing. Garcia started with the St. Louis Cardinals, but the team traded him to the Rangers for cash considerations in 2019.

He only appeared in three games in 2020 and in February 2021, Garcia was designated for assignment. After that, he became a non-roster invitee to spring training. It was not until April that his contract was selected. Since then, Garcia has made the All-Star Game twice and produced his most complete offensive season in 2023.

The main two pieces of the lineup are star players for the Rangers. Shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien signed hefty contracts with the Rangers in the same offseason. Seager put up a monstrous 1.013 OPS in 119 games, while Semien showcased his strong play on offense and defense.

The pitching staff for the Rangers has also played its role in their run to the Fall Classic. World Series Game 1 starter Nathan Eovaldi is currently 4-0 in the playoffs and has allowed just seven runs in 26 innings. Eovaldi says that he is excited to be starting the first game for his team.

The Rangers made two trade deadline deals to acquire pitchers for the playoffs. Trade deadline pickup Max Scherzer struggled in the ALCS, but his experience could be a factor in the series. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery allowed just two runs in 14 innings over three games in the ALCS.

With all the players acquired during the offseason or trade deadline, their biggest addition may not have been a player. The Rangers lured three-time World Series manager Bruce Bochy out of retirement during the offseason to manager this team. His experience and winning mentality has helped the team throughout the season. His management during the playoffs and his ability to get the most out of the Rangers has proved pivotal all season. Bochy talked about the enjoyment of being in the World Series and the sacrifices made to do it.

The Rangers look for their first World Series in franchise history, after losing back-to-back in 2010 and 2011. The Diamondbacks seek their second World Series title, their first since 2001.

First pitch is set for 8:03 p.m.

About Matt Rothmann

Check Also

Florida Baseball Steals Game At No. 9 Georgia In 10 Innings

What a baseball game between the Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs on Friday in Athens, …