In one of the unlikeliest World Series Matchups in MLB history, we have the Cinderella story of the Arizona Diamondbacks (2nd in NL West) and the Texas Rangers (2nd in AL West). Both teams beat some juggernauts on their path to the World Series, whether it’s the Diamondbacks defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers (Best in NL West) in the Wild Card round in a sweep, or the Philadelphia Phillies (2nd in NL East) in the NLCS (National League Championship Series) in seven games.
On the other side, we have the offensive firepower that is the Rangers. The Rangers defeated the best team in the AL (American League) the Baltimore Orioles (101-61) in a sweep that shocked the world. Then they took care of business in the ALCS (American League Championship Series) against the defending World Series champions Houston Astros in seven games.
Both teams have been amongst the best all postseason all-around. The Rangers have arguably the best hitting crew all postseason, ranking first in RBIs (74), hits (126), and first in home runs (25) led by Evan Carter, Corey Seager, and Adolis Garcia to name a few who are all Golden Glove finalists for their respective positions with Seager being the favorite as the AL MVP runner up.
The Diamondbacks are no slouches themselves, ranking second in RBIs (64), second in hits (123), and tied third in homer runs with the Astros at 20 currently led by Alek Thomas, Ketel Marte, and Tommy Pham to name a few.
Game 1 saw the Rangers take it in overtime in 11 innings coming out on top 6-5 after a Garcia walk-off homer. But as the Diamondbacks have shown all postseason, they always respond when their backs are against the wall… And that’s what they did in Game 2.
Game 2 was a huge one for the Diamondbacks as you needed to steal one on the road to make it a series. Diamondback pitcher Merrill Kelly was outstanding in Game 2, striking out the Rangers hitters nine times with an ERA of 2.25 and no walks, which is huge coming from someone who, at one point, many considered the “worst” starting pitcher in baseball.
No team scored within the first four innings in large part due to the strong pitching from both sides, especially the Diamondbacks from Kelly to relief pitchers such as Andrew Saalfrank, and Luis Frias who all combined for a pitch and strike count of 120-81 which is good for an ERA of 1.48… Staggering.
The Rangers pitchers, aside from starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery all struggled, posting ERAs of over 6.00. Montgomery also had his struggles with four errors and the Rangers pitching bullpen as a whole allowed four walks which isn’t going to get it done at this stage.
Diamondbacks catcher Gabriel Moreno got the Diamondbacks on the scoreboard with a solo home run in the fourth to centerfield of 413 feet that gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead. Later on, Diamondback left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a single to record an RBI for Pham to score to make it 2-0 Diamondbacks.
The only point the Rangers would put on the board was in the 5th inning off a Mitch Garver solo home run to make it 2-1. Aside from that, the Rangers struggled all night hitting the ball, getting struck out a total of 10 times to only go with four hits with 31 bat appearances in the process.
The Diamondbacks would keep the scoring pouring on from Pham, Marte, Evan Longoria, Corbin Carroll, Geraldo Perdomo, and Jace Peterson all scoring to to help the Diamondbacks rout the Rangers in a 9-1 victory after a gut-wrenching loss in Game 1.
The poor pitching and struggles at bat haunted the Rangers all night and are the reason they were never able to get a rhythm to help them get into the game. Things should be better for them on the pitching front as three-time Cy Young winner and 2019 World Series Champion Max Scherzer will be the starting pitcher in Game 3 as they head to Arizona for Games 3 and 4.
Can the Rangers redeem themselves in Game 3 with Scherzer starting at the mound and improve upon their putrid Game 2 bat showing? They will have to against a relentless Diamondbacks team that has a raucous crowd.
Game 3 is set for Monday at 8:03 PM Eastern time. Let’s see if they can respond.