Rangers Win the World Series! and a look ahead to 2024

Brian Lapresse/AP

PHOENIX, AZ – The Rangers have finally won the World Series.  63 years after the franchise was born and now 12 years removed from their game 6 meltdown that cost them the 2011 title, they finally hoisted the Commissioner’s trophy with glee and tears of joy in their eyes on Wednesday night.  In the span of three innings, they went from landing on the wrong side of a no-hitter to celebrating the first World Series win in franchise history.

The Diamondbacks had a meltdown of their own in Game 4, letting up 10 runs in the first few innings.  So, they turned to their ace Zac Gallen in the hopes of forcing Game 6.  The right-hander entered the game on a three-game losing streak, most recently allowing three earned runs in a Game 1 loss.  But Gallen looked different in Game 5, almost unhittable he was so sharp.  He started with back-to-back 1-2-3 innings and by the end of the fourth, he had a perfect game going with a ridiculously low 35 pitches.

The Rangers finally got on base in the fifth inning on a Nathaniel Lowe walk, but Gallen slammed the door on that inning too – he was pitching the game of his life, in the most important moment of his career.   Rangers starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi wasn’t as sharp as Gallen, but he matched Gallen in the one metric that matters the most: The game was tied 0-0 after six innings.

But no matter how dominant a pitcher looks; it only takes a few pitches for everything to unravel.  After not allowing a hit to the first 19 batters, Gallen allowed three hits in a row in the seventh.  The first was an opposite-field grounder from Corey Seager.  The second was a double into the gap from Evan Carter, good for his ninth double of this postseason, a new MLB record.  The third consecutive hit came from Mitch Garver, who was pushed into cleanup duty after the loss of Adolis Garcia and that was all it took.

Over five pitches, momentum shifted sharply from the home team watching their ace dish out a game 5 no-hitter to the road team counting down the outs.  The Rangers added a few insurance runs in the top of the ninth when Josh Jung and Nathaniel Lowe opened with leadoff singles off Arizona closer Paul Sewald, then Jonah Heim came through with another single that turned in a back breaker when D-backs defensive star center fielder, Alek Thomas flat-out missed the bouncing ground ball in center field.  Sewald got the next two batter out, but then Marcus Semien came through with the dagger for Texas with a two-run homer.

Resiliency must be the theme for the Rangers as it is the word that has been continually used to describe them time and again this postseason.  Manager Bruce Bochy first called this team resilient during the season and has dropped the word in media interview all October.  Then the media itself started singing the same praises of this Texas team.  It was totally fitting that the club that showed that trademark resiliency one last time en route to winning it all.  They won the series 4-1 with the final three games coming on the road in Arizona.  After finishing the regular season under .500 in road games, they became the first team ever to go 11-0 on the road in the postseason.

Bochy last night became the sixth manager in history to win four World Series titles.  Meanwhile, shortstop Cory Seager won world Series MVP for the second time in his career, joining an elite group of hall of famers in Sandy Koufax, Reggie Jackson, and Bob Gibson as the only player to win the award multiple times.

Rangers starting pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi has earned the nickname ‘Big Game Nate’ because of performances like this.  He allowed runners to reach scoring position in each of the first five innings and was able to escape the jams on every occasion.  It’s nothing new for the right-hander, who seems to have another gear he hits whenever runners get to second or third base.  During the regular season, opponents hit just .168b against Eovaldi with runners in scoring position.

While Eovaldi’s performance should certainly be celebrated, there’s another side to this story.  The Diamondbacks got plenty of runners on base against the right hander and yet, their inability to notch even one clutch hit will haunt them for months to come.  Their best opportunity came in the third inning when Corbin Carroll singled to open the frame and Ketel Marte walked.  Gabriel Moreno then laid down a sacrifice bunt that was successful in execution yet might have been a mistake in strategy. 

Arizona manager, Torey Lovullo will undoubtedly face questions about asking the teams No. 3 hitter, who entered the day with a .785 OPS and four home runs in the postseason, to lay down a bunt in a situation where there was a chance to do damage against a struggling Eovaldi.  After Moreno’s sacrifice, Christian Walker struck out and Tommy Pham grounded out to end the inning.

Now that the 2023 fall classic is over, let’s turn our attention to 2024 and kick the offseason off with some way-too-early top 10 MLB power rankings. 

Where do Texas and Arizona rank after their World Series runs?  How about the Braves and Dodgers who were knocked out in the divisional round? And where did teams like the Orioles, Astros, and Rays land?  Let’s dive right in!

1.      Atlanta Braves

2.      Baltimore Orioles

3.      Philadelphia Phillies

4.      Texas Rangers

5.      Los Angeles Dodgers

6.      Arizona Diamondbacks

7.      Seattle Mariners

8.      Tampa Bay Rays

9.      Houston Astros

10.  Cincinnati Reds

11.  Minnesota Twins

12.  San Diego Padres

13.  Chicago Cubs

14.  Toronto Blue Jays

15.  St. Louis Cardinals

16.  Milwaukee Brewers

17.  Boston Red Sox

18.  New York Mets

19.  New York Yankees

20.  San Francisco Giants

21.  Cleveland Guardians

22.  Pittsburgh Pirates

23.  Miami Marlins

24.  Washington Nationals

25.  Detroit Tigers

26.  Kansas City Royals

27.  Los Angeles Angels

28.  Colorado Rockies

29.  Chicago White Sox

30.  Oakland/Las Vegas Athletics

Leave a Reply

Most Populer

Latest Updates