Czerwonka: 2023 World Series Preview

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MLB Playoffs graphic. - Graphics Editor / Julia Quennessen

Starting in 1903, when the Boston Americans faced the Pittsburgh Pirates in what’s also commonly known as the “Fall Classic,” the World Series has become of the most highly anticipated sports events in America. 

The lights now shine brighter than ever as we’ve officially made it to the long-awaited matchup. Both of these teams have had their ups and downs throughout the season, but are now just four games away from taking it all and cementing their name in baseball history. 

Texas Rangers

Just last year, the Rangers finished the season with 94 losses. Two years ago, they ended the season with 102 losses, at the bottom of the American League. Finally, for the first time since 2011, the Rangers have made it back to the Fall Classic. They won the battle of Texas in the ALCS. It was a full seven-game series, with neither team winning at home, a suspension in the middle of the series, and complete dominance by a player who enjoyed career highs across the board this season. 

Texas Rangers: Offense

This lineup is on a tear right now. First and foremost, Adolis Garcia has been a complete monster, slashing a .327/.352/1.102 with 17 hits, 20 RBI, and seven home runs in the postseason. Remember that in 2019, Garcia got cut by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Then, there are All-Stars such as Marcus Semien and Corey Seager, with the latter putting together a career year in 2023. And of course, Seager hasn’t failed to get it done on the big stage, as he’s already won a World Series and NLCS MVP award with the Dodgers in 2020. You also can’t forget about Jonah Heim, the switch-hitting catcher who earned his first All-Star selection this season. 

Moving further down the line, the Rangers have multiple rookie contributors like Josh Jung, the third baseman who is also a first-time All-Star, and Evan Carter, who joined the team in September but has been on fire since getting the call-up. Carter also set a new playoff record by reaching base safely in his 11 games, which is the longest streak by a player 21 or younger in postseason history. 

Texas Rangers: Pitching

Although the Rangers have experienced their fair share of pitching struggles, Nathan Eovaldi and Jordan Montgomery aren’t a part of the problem. So far in the postseason, they have a combined 2.51 ERA in 51 innings. 

However, their bullpen is a real vulnerability. Their relievers tied for the seventh-worst ERA in MLB at 4.77 throughout the regular season. But Rangers’ skipper Bruce Bochy has shown great bullpen management, and he’s been able to steer his high-end leverage nicely with guys like Jose Leclerc. 

Now, let’s flip to a team that was in the same situation as the Rangers just a few years ago.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Two years ago, this team was at an all-time low. They put forth their second-worst season in franchise history with a record of 52-110. They also haven’t bought a ton of players in the past few years; in fact, their highest-paid player this year, Madison Bumgarner, was cut in April. After the Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-0 series lead in the NLCS, many thought the Diamondbacks’ impressive run for a young team was over, but that wasn’t the case. They battled back and fought to return the series to Philadelphia for games six and seven. And with little to no chance to win both games in a hostile Philly environment, they did it. 

Arizona Diamondbacks: Offense

We’ll start with Ketel Marte, who’s been a huge part of the Diamondbacks’ offense in the postseason. The NLCS MVP has kicked off his playoff career with a 16-game hitting streak, tying the all-time record held by Hank Bauer, Derek Jeter, and Manny Ramirez. Slashing .333/.345/.910 with 21 hits and 11 RBI, it isn’t hard to understand why he was the NLCS MVP.

Corbin Carroll has also been a budding star in his first season in the big leagues, as he made his first All-Star appearance at the age of 23 and is most likely going to win NL Rookie of the Year. However, when he entered Arizona’s series against the Phillies, he had gone cold. Carroll was able to come back to life when it mattered the most in Game 7, going 3-4 with two RBI, two runs, and two stolen bases. 

This young Diamondbacks’ team has multiple other players worth mentioning such as Gabriel Moreno, one of the best defensive catchers in the league, and Alek Thomas, who came up with a huge two-run home run in Game 4 of the NLCS. Geraldo Perdomo, a young starting shortstop, also made his first All-Star appearance in his first season at the age of 24.  

Arizona Diamondbacks: Pitching 

Pitching is what has really stood out for the Diamondbacks. Brandon Pfaadt, who had a 5.72 ERA in the regular season, has been stellar in the postseason so far, shutting down the Phillies’ offense in both of his starts while collecting 16 strikeouts. Merrill Kelly is another name who came in clutch in Game 7, striking out eight Phillies hitters. 

The bullpen may be an even stronger suit for Arizona, with notable names like Andrew Saalfrank, Kevin Ginkel (who completely shut down the Phillies), lefty Joe Mantiply, and closer Paul Sewald. Sewald was traded from the Mariners at the trade deadline and has been lights out in the postseason.

A World Series that no one saw coming. Two teams who were nowhere near where they are now just a few years ago, now fighting to write their name into the history books forever.

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