Monday, September 25, 2023
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MLB Preview: Texas Rangers (72-52) at Arizona Diamondbacks (64-61)


WINS AND LOSSES: Texas lost yesterday, 6-2, as club went 2-4 during 6-game, 7-day homestand vs. LAA (2-1) and MIL (0-3)…it marked the first time that TEX lost all games of a home series since 9/23-25/22 vs. CLE (0-3)…TEX’s 4 G losing streak is tied for longest this season by team (also 4/24- 27)…Rangers start a 9-G, 10-day road trip tonight that goes through ARI (2 G), MIN (4 G) and NYM (3 G), with an off day on Wed…club has 72 wins, already most since 2019 (78)… team has dropped 5 of 7 and is 4-6 since a month-opening and season-best 8-G win streak (8/1-8), longest for club since going 10-0, 5/9-19/17…Rangers are still 12-6 (.667) in Aug., T2nd-best in A.L. and T4th-best in MLB (LAD: .895, 17-2; SEA: .778, 14-4; ATL: .684, 13-6, BAL/TEX/WAS: .667, 12-6)…have gone 13-10 in last 23 G and 14-13 in last 27 G since a 6-G win streak (7/14-19) out of the break…team is a 20-13 (.606) in the 2nd “half”, 3rd-best in A.L./5th-best in MLB, and 20 wins are T6th in MLB…TEX is 21-15 in last 36, 22-19 in last 41 G, and 23-21 in last 44 G…team was 12-19 over a 31-G span from 6/7-7/9 to end the 1st “half”…TEX is 67-48 last 115 G (beg. 4/9).

  • At 72-52 (.581), TEX owns the 3rd-best record in the A.L., 5th-best in MLB (.650-ATL, .621-BAL, .618-LAD, .595-TB, .581-TEX)…72 wins rank 3rd in the A.L., 5th-most in MLB (80-ATL, 77-BAL, 76-LAD, 75-TB, 72-TEX).
  • The 72-52 mark is T4th-best 124-G start to a season in Washington/Texas franchise history (see chart below).

WITH A WIN TONIGHT, Texas would:

  • Tie for 3rd-best 125-G record in franchise history (also ’16).
  • Snap a season high-tying 4 game losing streak (also 4/24-27: 0-3 at CIN and 0-1 vs. NYY).
  • Win a 3rd straight series opener on the road (since 8/4).
  • Reach 31 away wins…the most by club in a 59 G span on the road to start a season since 2015 A.L. West division winning Rangers (32-27).

STANDINGS: Texas has a 2.5-G lead in the A.L. West over 2nd-place HOU for a 5th straight day…lead has been at least 2.0 G for 16 straight days beg. 8/5…also held leads of 2.0+ G in the division for 64 consecutive days from 5/23-7/24… season-best 6.5-G lead in West after win 6/23 at NYY, which was largest division lead since winning the West by 9.0 G in 2016…TEX has had sole possession of 1st place for 107 straight, 114 of 115, and 127 of the last 129 days beg. 4/14.

  • TEX has been alone or tied atop the division for 143 of the season’s first 144 days (exception: 4/8).

SERIES STUFF: After being swept by MIL this weekend, TEX has lost all games of a home series for the first time since 9/23-25/22 vs. CLE (0-3)…the series loss this weekend vs. MIL snapped a span of 5 straight winning series (5-0-0) for the Rangers…it was club’s 2nd-best streak in ’23 (6-0- 0, 5/19-6/7)…club is now 7-4-0 in series since break, going 5-2-0 at home in 2nd “half”…the 7-4-0 span follows a 2-6-1 stretch to end the 1st “half”…is now 24-14-2 overall in series this year, going 13-6-2 at home and 11-8-0 on the road.

  • TEX has lost all games of a series just three times in ’23… once at home: 8/18-20 vs. MIL (0-3) and twice on the road: 4/24-26 at CIN (0-3) and 7/28-30 at SD (0-3).

ON THE ROAD: TEX tonight begins a 9-G, 10-day road trip through ARI (2 G), MIN (4 G), and NYM (3 G)…it is the team’s third and final 3-city trip of the season (7-3 from May 5-14 at LAA/SEA/OAK, and 6-3 from May 22-31 at PIT/BAL/DET)… club has lost 5 of 9, 9 of 14, 11 of 17, 13 of 20, and 17 of last 28 away games…club is 30-28 (.517) on the road, 6thbest away record in the A.L…TEX’s 30-28 (.517) record ranks T7th-best away win percentage through 58 road games in Rangers history (also 2006).

VS. ARIZONA: The Rangers split 2 games w/ ARI in May (1-1, 5/2-3 at GLF)…club won both games in Phoenix during their last visit here (2-0, 9/7-8/21)…TEX owns a 8-23 lead all-time vs. ARI…TEX has won 3 of last 4, but are still 6-8 in last 14 G (beg. 4/9/19)…TEX has a 12-11 record in 23 G vs. ARI at Chase Field, winning 2 straight and 3 of last 5 G here.

NATIONAL LEAGUE “HOME”: The Diamondbacks are the lone team this season that the Rangers will play as part of a “home and home” series (1-1 at 5/2-3 at GLF, 2 G 8/21-22 at Chase Field)…in fact, TEX has played “home and home” series against ARI in 5 of the last 6 seasons (exception: 2022 against PHI, 4-0), going 8-10 during that span…TEX won the 2021 “home and home” series against ARI, 3-1, taking both games here at Chase Field.

ROAD WARRIORS: TEX pitchers enter tonight’s game with a 4-2 record and a 2.01 road ERA (12 ER/53.2 ERA) that ranks 2nd in the A.L./MLB in 6 away games dating back to 8/7 (1.49- TOR)…opposing batters are slashing .195/.248/.328/.576 (38-for-195) during that time frame, also the 2nd-lowest OPS in the A.L./MLB (.504-TOR)…TEX starters have a 2.10 road ERA (8 ER/34.1 IP) since 8/7, recording 6.0+ IP in 5 of those 6 starts (exception: Heaney, 1.1 IP on 8/12 at SF).

TO THE MAX: Max Scherzer’s 3rd SO yesterday against the Brewers was strikeout number 3,343 of his career, passing Hall of Famer Phil Niekro (3,342) for 11th place on the all-time strikeouts list (see chart below)…he finished the game with 4 SO, as he now owns 3,344 career strikeouts

  • Scherzer’s 151 SO this campaign mark his 14th season with 150-or-more strikeouts out of the 16 that he has played in his decorated MLB career…during the 60-G season in ’20, Scherzer’s 92 SO in 12 GS still ranked 6th in N.L./9th in MLB.
  • Scherzer, who was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 1st round (11th pick) of the 2006 MLB June draft, made his MLB debut with Arizona in 2008…he compiled a 9-15 record, 3.86 ERA (97 ER/226.1 IP) and 240 SO in 2 seasons (2008- 09) with ARI.

(* denotes Hall of Famer)
Rank Player SO
10 Greg Maddux* 3,371
11 Max Scherzer 3,344
12 Phiel Niekro* 3,342

COREY’S HOUSE: Corey Seager launched his 23rd home run of the season yesterday, finishing the day going 2-for-4 with 1 RBI, 1 R…the ball traveled an estimated 436 feet, his 2nd-longest HR of the season (437 feet on 5/26 at BAL).

  • Seager has reached base via H/BB in 8 consecutive games at .323/.432/.774/1.206 w/ 4 HR, 8 RBI and 6 BB/4 SO…he now has an extra base hit in 11 of his last 16 G (9 HR, 5 2B).

TOUGH ON LEFTY: Entering tonight’s matchup with Joe Mantiply, the Rangers are 23-12 against LH starters this season, winning 5 of the last 6, 7 of 9, and going 17-7
(.708) since 5/14…lefties have quality starts in just 8 of 35 chances vs. TEX this season…TEX batters have slashed .280/.354/.466/.820 vs. LH pitchers in ’23, as the .820 OPS leads the A.L. and ranks 2nd in MLB (.891-ATL).

SHORTS: Aroldis Chapman’s 1,129 career relief SO rank 13th in MLB history, as he needs 4 SO to tie 12th-place Trevor Hoffman (1,133) and 6 K’s to tie 11th-place Mariano Rivera (1,135)…Ezequiel Duran had a career high 3 errors at third base yesterday, just the 2nd time all season that TEX recorded 3+ errors in a game (5 E, 4/8 at CHC)…Duran’s 3 E are tied for most all-time by a Ranger (done 23x, last Nathaniel Lowe on 9/1/21 vs. COL)…TEX bullpen allowed 3 of 7 inherited runners to score in the series vs. MIL, this after stranding their 1st 10 IR to begin the month of August…José Leclerc struck out 3 of 4 batters faced yesterday, his most SO since 7/6 at BOS (also 3 SO).

TONIGHT’S STARTING PITCHER – #52 Jordan Montgomery, LHP (8-10, 3.30)
TONIGHT: The 30-year-old left-hander is scheduled to make his 25th start of the season tonight (4th with TEX) in the road trip opener in Phoenix…owns a 2-1 record with a 2.50 ERA (5 R-ER/18.0 IP) in 3 GS (all 3 quality starts) since being acquired on 7/30 in a trade with STL, along with RHP Chris Stratton and international bonus pool money, in exchange for LHP John King, INF/OF Tommy Saggese, and RHP T.K. Roby…will pitch today on extra 5 days’ rest after earning win on Tues. vs. LAA (see below)…went 6-9 with a 3.42 ERA (46 ER/121.0 IP) in 21 G/GS for STL this season prior to the trade, posting 108 SO with 35 BB allowed… acquired by STL from NYY on 8/2/22 in exchange for outfielder Harrison Bader… the Sumter, S.C. native finished sixth in the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year voting and was named to the Topps MLB All-Star Rookie Team after leading the A.L. in starts (29), strikeouts (144), and innings (155.1) that season…selected by the Yankees in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB draft out of the U. of South Carolina, Montgomery owns a 36-33 record with a 3.74 ERA in 133 G/132 GS across 7 MLB seasons with New York-AL (2017-22), St. Louis (2022-23), and Texas (2023)…his teams are 9-15 in his 24 starts this season (2-1 w/ Texas). OF LATE: Has gone 6-4, 2.47 (23 ER/83.2 IP) with 76 SO/21 BB, a .234 opp. BA, and just 7 HR allowed over his last 14 starts beg. 5/28…his 2.47 ERA since 5/28 is 3rd-lowest among MLB qualifiers in that span (1.26-Blake Snell, 2.37-Aaron Civale).

LAST START: Earned the victory in Rangers’ 7-3 win on Tues. vs. LAA (6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R-ER, 0 BB, 9 SO, 0 HR, 91 pitches/63 strikes), which was also the last Texas win before current 4-G losing streak…his 9 SO rank T3rd-most in his career, tying his season high (also 9 SO w/ STL on 4/8 at MIL)…only run allowed came in 5th inning, when he permitted 3 singles, including 2-out RBI single by Luis Rengifo…2nd time in his career w/ walkless start of 6.0+ IP, one-or-zero runs allowed,
and 9+ SO (also w/ NYY on 5/21/21 vs. CWS – 7.0 SHO IP, 11 SO).

VS. ARIZONA: Only career outing vs. D-Backs came in April w/ STL, taking loss in Cardinals’ 8-7 home defeat on 4/18 vs. ARI (L, 4.0 IP, 10 H, 7 R-ER, 0 BB, 2 SO, 1 HR, 79 pitches/52 strikes)…the 10 hits allowed matched his career high (also 4/8/18 vs. BAL)…this will be his 1st-ever outing at Chase Field.

ON THE ROAD: Is 2-6, 3.30 (23 ER/62.2 IP) in 11 G/GS on the road in ’23, with 3 of his 6 away losses being quality starts in which his team was shut out (including
lone away start w/ TEX on 8/9 at OAK – 6.0 IP, 2 R-ER)…has quality starts in 5 of 11 G on road in ’23, allowing 2 ER-or-less in 8 of the 11 starts…while ERA is same for both home and road in ’23 (3.30), has produced a slightly better slash line in road games (.242/.298/.404/.702) vs. home games (.261/.307/.417/.724)… his teams are just 2-9 in his away outings in 2023.

WITH TEXAS: Has gone 2-1, 2.50 (5 ER/18.0 IP) over his 1st 3 starts w/ TEX (all 3 quality starts) to drop season ERA from 3.42 to 3.30…has just 2 BB against 20 SO, as opponents have hit .268/.284/.394/.678 with 2 HR…his 2.50 ERA ranks 11th in the A.L. among pitchers with 3+ starts in August, and he ranks among Texas staff leaders this month in quality starts (T1st, 3), SO (3rd, 20), IP (4th, 18.0)… Montgomery (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R-ER on 8/4 vs. MIA) and Max Scherzer (6.0 IP, 3 R-ER on 8/3 vs. CWS) are the only TEX pitchers in the last 4 seasons (beg. 2020) to record quality starts in their 1st outing with the club.

WITH ST. LOUIS: Went 12-12 with a 3.31 ERA (68 ER/184.2 IP) over 32 G/GS with St. Louis after being acquired from the Yankees in a trade on 8/2/22 in exchange for OF Harrison Bader…during his time with STL, led the staff in wins and strikeouts (169), posting easily the lowest ERA among any of the 8 Cardinals with 65+ IP in that span…his 184.2 IP ranked 2nd to only Miles Mikolas (197.1)…St. Louis won 10-of-his-first-13 starts as a Cardinal, but went 5-14 over his last 19.

  • At time of the trade, ranked among N.L. leaders in quality starts (T7th, 12), ERA (9th, 3.42), HR/9 (10th, 0.89), opp. GIDP/9 (11th, 0.97), and WHIP (17th, 1.25).
  • STL was shut out in 3 of his 1st 4 losses in 2023, and dropped each of 10 consecutive starts by Montgomery from 4/13-6/3…Montgomery was 0-7 in that span (4/13-6/3), longest losing streak of his career.
  • Went 7 consecutive starts (4/13-5/16) with 3-or-fewer runs of support, including 3 starts with no support (4/13, 4/24, 4/29).
  • Began 7/2 vs. NYY with 5.2 no-hit innings, longest career span to open a start.

VS. LEFTIES: Has 2 walks against LH batters in the past 2 seasons, and they each came in his final starts for NYY and STL…issued a walk to Cubs’ Cody Bellinger in 4th inning of last start w/ STL on 7/28 vs. CHC…it was his only walk to a LH batter in his STL career (32 GS), as he had not issued a free pass to a LHB since 7/31/22 vs. KC (Vinnie Pasquantino in 5th inn), his final start as a Yankee.

  • LHB have slashed .220/.259/.321/.581 with 11 HR, 19 BB/120 SO in his career. 2023: Opponents are batting .252 (135-535), with a .284 BA from LHB and a .247 BA from RHB…lefties have never batted higher than .250 in any season in his MLB career…has gone 4-1, 2.36 (12 ER/45.2 IP) over 8 starts against A.L. clubs this season…BA by time through the order: 1st (.255), 2nd (.235), 3rd (.276), 4th (0-1)…finished June ranking among N.L. leaders in ERA (7th, 1.71) and opp. BA (12th, .212)…won 3 straight decisions to end June.


IN THE WEST: The D-backs are third in the NL West, 1.5 games behind the Giants, 13.0 games behind the Dodgers and 5.0 games ahead of the Padres.

ROSTER MOVES: Prior to tonight’s game, the D-backs reinstated INF Evan Longoria from the 10-day injured list (strained lower back) and optioned OF Kyle Lewis to Triple-A Reno.

SERIES-LY THOUGH: The D-backs have won each of their last 3 series (2-1 vs. Padres, 2-1 @ Rockies and 3-1 @ Padres).

VS. RANGERS: The D-backs and Rangers split their last series @ Globe Life Field (1-1) earlier this season from May 2-3…the D-backs outscored them 16-13 (W, 12-7 and L, 4-6…the D-backs are 4-4 vs. Rangers in their last 8 matchups @ home…the D-backs have 4 triples and 6 home runs vs. Rangers in their last 4 home contests (since Sept. 22, 2020).

♦ This season, Arizona is 6-5 vs. AL West opponents: 1-1 @ Rangers, 2-1 @ Athletics, 2-1 @ Angels and 1-2 vs. Mariners.

COMING IN HOT: Over the last week, since Aug. 14, Christian Walker and Alek Thomas rank among NL offensive leaders:

♦ Walker hit .385 (10-for-26)/.500 OBP/.885 SLG with 1 double, 4 home runs, 11 RBI, 6 walks and 23 total bases over 7 games…in the span, he ranks among the NL in RBI (1st), total bases (1st), homers (T-1st), runs (T-1st, 8), walks (T-2nd), extra-base hits (T-3rd, 5), SLG (5th), OPS (5th), hits (T-5th) and OBP (T-6th).

♦ Thomas hit .400 (8-for-20)/.478 OBP/.500 SLG with 2 doubles, 7 runs, 1 RBI, 2 walks, 1 HBP and 1 stolen base over 7 games…in the span, he ranks among the NL in runs (T-6th), doubles (T-8th), OBP (10th) and AVG (T-10th).

PHAM’S MLB-LEADING 11-GAME HIT STREAK: Tommy Pham’s 11-game hit streak is tied for the longest in MLB (also: Jake Burger/MIA)…in the span, Pham is batting .311 (14-for-45)/.977 OPS with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 11 RBI and 2 walks… it marks his first 11+- game hitting streak since Aug. 31-Sept. 13, 2019 (11 G) while with the Rays…he has only had a streak of 12+ games twice: Aug 21-Sept. 14, 2018 (17 games with Rays) and June 6-June 19, 2018 (13 games with Cardinals).

CARROLL’S AGE 22 POWER-SPEED: Corbin Carroll, who turned 23 today, rounded out his age 22 season with the sixth-best power-speed number (26.8) on Baseball Reference’s Top 10 Age 22 Batting Leaders, the highest by a player since Fernando Tatis Jr./SD in 2021 (31.3):

Baseball Reference Top 10 Age 22 Power-Speed #

  1. Alex Rodriguez 43.9 1998
  2. Cesar Cedeno 34.6 1973
  3. Fernando Tatis Jr. 31.3 2021
  4. Barry Bonds 28.1 1987
  5. Bug Holliday 26.9 1889
  6. Corbin Carroll 26.8 2023
  7. Ben Chapman 26.6 1931
  8. Darryl Strawberry 26.5 1984
  9. Julio Rodríguez 25.7 2023
  10. Hanley Ramirez 25.5 2006

CARROLL ON THE BAGS THRU AGE 22: Corbin Carroll is 1 of 10 MLB rookies to steal 30+ bases at age 22 or younger since 1990:

Hanley Ramírez/FLA 22 51 1st 2006
Mike Trout/LAA 20 49 1st 2012
Jimmy Rollins/PHI 22 46 3rd 2001
Delino DeShields/MON 21 42 2nd 1990
Milt Cuyler/DET 22 41 3rd 1991
Rafael Furcal/ATL 22 40 1st 2000
Corbin Carroll/AZ 22 37 – 2023
Elvis Andrus/TEX 20 33 2nd 2009
Luis Rivas/MIN 21 31 – 2001
Bobby Witt/KC 22 30 4th 2022

GRAND GABI: In game 2 on Saturday @ Padres, Gabriel Moreno collected his first career grand slam and became the first D-backs’ player to hit a grand slam in a twin-bill game…i t was the D-backs’ fourth grand slam this season on the road (also: Pavin Smith on April 17 @ Cardinals, Corbin Carroll on June 9 @ Tigers and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. on June 30 @ Angels.

♦ The last D-backs’ player to hit a grand slam @ Petco Park was A.J. Pollock on Sept. 25, 2015 (Top 2 off Casey Kelly – 432 ft.).

TWIN BILL SWEEP: The D-backs collected their first-ever doubleheader sweep vs. Padres on Saturday with a 6-4 game 1 win and 8-1 game 2 victory)…Arizona has swept 5 of its last 8 doubleheaders (also: April 25, 2021 @ Braves [5-0 and 7-0], May 6, 2015 @ Rockies [13-7 and 5-1], Sept. 15, 2015 @ Rockies [6-4 and 5-3] and Sept. 25, 2020 vs. Rockies [4-0 and 11-5].

♦ Due to the forecast related to Hurricane Hilary, the D-backs and Padres Sunday game was rescheduled to a Saturday split doubleheader…it marked the second-ever doubleheader between the 2 teams (also: Aug. 31, 2001 @ Qualcomm Stadium).

AT A GLANCE: 2022 All-Star is in his fourth season with the D-backs and sixth in the Majors…signed by the D-backs as a Minor League free agent on Jan. 3, 2020.

  • In 4 seasons with the D-backs, has gone 3-9 with 2 saves and a 3.93 ERA (66 R-54 ER in 123.2 IP).
  • Set a MLB and club record for most consecutive games by a LHP without a walk (34) from April 9-July 10, 2022.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Is making his second career start…his fi rst was on Aug. 15, 2023 @ Rockies (0 ER in 1.0 IP).

  • Has made 19 relief appearances in 2023…2 IL stints and 2 stints @ Reno.
  • Has 8 strikeouts in his last 9 games (8.1 IP).

IT’S UNDER CONTROL: Has yielded 3 walks in 19 games this season (88 BF in 21.2 IP).

  • His 1.31 walks per 9.0 innings pitched is fourth best among NL relievers (min. 15 games pitched) behind Matt Koch/COL (1.13), Ryan Borucki/PIT (1.19) and Adbert Alzolay/CHC (1.29).

PITCH BREAKDOWN: Opponents are batting .150 (3-for-20) with 6 strikeouts off his curveball and .167 (4-for-24) with 7 strikeouts off his changeup.

  • Has not allowed a hit off his changeup since June 19 (10 BF in 3.1 IP).

VS. RANGERS: Is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA (0 ER in 1.2 IP, 1 K) in 2 relief appearances…won on May 3, 2023 @ Rangers (0 ER in 1.1. IP, 1 K).

  • Has not allowed a hit or walk (5 BF).

RENO RECAP: In 11 games (1 start) with Triple-A Reno this season, has gone 1-0 with a 7.30 ERA (11 R-10 ER in 12.1 IP).

SNAKE BITES: Played at Virginia Tech, where he went 20-16 with a 4.00 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 64 games (47 starts) over 4 seasons from 2010-13.

  • Signed by Tigers as 27th-round selection in First-Year Player Draft on June 12, 2013.
Troy Wins

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