Saturday, September 23, 2023
5-Hour Energy

MLB Preview: Texas Rangers (72-53) at Arizona Diamondbacks (65-61)


WINS AND LOSSES: Texas was walked off yesterday in 11 innings, 4-3, as club is 0-1 to kick off a 9-G, 10-day road trip thru ARI (0-1 + 1 G), MIN (4 G), and NYM (3 G), with an off day tomorrow…club’s 5 G losing streak is the longest this season by team (longest since a 7 G losing streak last season from 9/28-10/4/22)…with TEX having dropped 5 straight, there are now just 5 MLB teams that have yet to lose at least 5 in a row in ’23: ATL, BAL CLE, LAD, SEA…club has 72 wins, already most since 2019 (78)…team has dropped 6 of 8 and is 4-7 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 12-7 (.632) in Aug., 3rd-best in A.L. (SEA: .789, 15-4; BAL: .667, 12-6; TEX: .632, 12-7)…have gone 13-11 in last 24 G and 14-14 in last 28 G since a 6-G win streak (7/14-19) out of the break…team is a 20-14 (.588) in the 2nd “half”, T4th-best record and wins total in A.L…TEX is 21-16 in last 37, 22-20 in last 42 G, and 23-22 in last 45 G… team was 12-19 over a 31-G span from 6/7-7/9 to end the 1st “half”…TEX is 67-49 last 116 G (beg. 4/9).

  • At 72-53 (.576), TEX owns the 3rd-best record in the A.L., 5th-best in MLB (.645-ATL, .621-BAL, .618-LAD, .595-TB, .576-TEX)…72 wins rank 3rd in the A.L., 5th-most in MLB (80-ATL, 77-BAL, 76-LAD, 75-TB, 72-TEX).
  • The 72-53 mark is T4th-best 125-G start to a season in Washington/Texas franchise history (see chart below).

WITH A WIN TONIGHT, Texas would:

  • Tie for 3rd-best 126-G record in franchise history (at 73-53).
  • Snap a season high 5 G losing streak (club’s longest since a 7 G losing streak from 9/28-10/4/22: 0-2 at SEA, 0-3 at LAA, 0-2 vs. NYY).
  • Avoid losing a 5th consecutive series finale (since 8/9: at OAK, at SF, vs. LAA, vs. MIL).

STANDINGS: Texas has a 1.5-G lead in the A.L. West over 2nd-place HOU for the 1st time since 8/4, having lost only 2 G in division race during current 5 G losing streak…lead had been at least 2.0 G for 16 straight days from 8/5-21…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 108 straight, 115 of 116, and 128 of the last 130 days beg. 4/14.

  • TEX has been alone or tied atop the division for 144 of the season’s first 145 days (exception: 4/8).

SERIES STUFF: Club lost 2nd straight series opener yesterday…TEX lost all games of a home series for the first time since 9/23-25/22 vs. CLE (0-3) after being swept by MIL during the weekend…it also 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…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).

VS. ARIZONA: TEX is 1-2 vs. ARI this season…split 2 G in May (1-1, 5/2-3 at GLF)…club won both games in ARI during their last visit here (2-0, 9/7-8/21)…TEX owns a 28-24 lead all-time vs. ARI…TEX has won 3 of last 5, but are still 6-9 in last 15 G (beg. 4/9/19)…TEX has a 12-12 record in 24 G vs. ARI at Chase Field, 2 of last 3 and 3 of last 6 G here.

ON THE ROAD: TEX is 0-1 during current 9-G, 10-day road trip through ARI (0-1 + 1 G), MIN (4 G), and NYM (3 G), with an off day tomorrow…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 6 of 10, 10 of 15, 12 of 18, 14 of 21, and 18 of last 29 away games…club is 30-29 (.508) on the road, 6th-best away record in the A.L.

MONTGOMERY MASTERCLASS: Jordan Montgomery yesterday made it 4 QS in 4 G since being acquired by TEX via trade from STL on 7/30…he did not factor into the decision, despite not allowing runners to score for the 3rd time in ’23 (ND, 8.0 SHO IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 SO)…in 4 GS w/ TEX, Montgomery is 2-1, 1.73 ERA (5 ER/26.0 IP), 3 BB/26 SO…per Stathead, he is the 1st lefty in ML history (4th pitcher) to record 2+ W, 26.0+ IP, 5 ER-or-less, 3 BB-or-less, and 26+ SO in his 1st 4 GS with a new franchise (see chart). 2+ W, 26.0+ IP, 5 ER-OR-LESS, 3 BB-OR-LESS, 26+ SO

(per Stathead)

Span Player (Current Team/Former Team)
8/4-21/23 Jordan Montgomery (TEX/STL)
4/3-19/21 Joe Musgrove (SD/PIT)
7/25-8/11/20 Dylan Bundy (LAA/BAL)
4/5-21/10 Roy Halladay (PHI/TOR)

QUITE A CHAP: Aroldis Chapman struck out 2 batters last night in 2.0 IP, as he has now struck out 33 of 72 (45.8%) BF across 17 G/18.0 IP for TEX since being acquired via trade with KC on 7/1…his 1,131 career relief SO are 3rd-most among active pitchers to Craig Kimbrel (1,169) and Kenley Jansen (1,157), and rank 13th on MLB’s all-time relief SO list…he needs 2 more SO to tie Trevor Hoffman (1,133) for 12th place on the all-time leaderboard, and 4 more SO to match Mariano Rivera (1,135) for 11th-most all-time.

GRAY SHINES AWAY: Jon Gray enters tonight’s game with a 5-2 record and a 2.76 ERA (18 ER/58.2 IP) on the road this season, tied for 2nd-lowest/3rd-lowest ERA in the Majors (min. 58.0 IP) with his teammate Nathan Eovaldi…Gray’s A.L. ranks in span of last 8 road starts (dating back to 4/26, min. 8 GS): .561 opp. OPS (1st), .201 opp. BA (4th), 2.65 ERA (7th).

(min. 58.0 innings pitched)
ERA Player (Team)
2.47 Blake Snell (SD)
2.62 Gerrit Cole (NYY)
2.76 Jon Gray (TEX)
2.76 Nathan Eovaldi (TEX)
2.82 Josiah Gray (WAS)

SHORTS: Happy birthday to TEX reliever Chris Stratton, who turns 33 today…Nathaniel Lowe’s 2-R double in the 11th last night was his 35th in ’23 (T1st in A.L./T2nd in MLB), most in one season by a Ranger since Jurickson Profar (35 2B in ’18)…it was also the first multi-RBI hit by a Ranger since Lowe’s 2-R HR on Fri. vs. MIL…TEX has endured walk-off losses in back-to-back road games (also 8/13 at SF) for 1st time since 7/4-5/22 at BAL…last night marked just the 3rd loss in club history in which TEX endured blown saves in both the 9th inning (Chapman) and an extra inning (W. Smith in 11th)…the others: 6/15/21 at HOU (Josh Sborz/Demarcus Evans) and 5/30/93 at BOS (Tom Henke/Jeff Bronkey).

TONIGHT’S STARTING PITCHER – #22 Jon Gray, RHP (8-6, 3.52)
TONIGHT: The 31-year-old right-hander is set to make his 23rd start of the season in tonight’s series finale against Arizona…is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA (6 ER/19.1 IP) and 17 SO/4 BB through 3 starts in August…has gone 2-4, 5.17 ERA (31 ER/54.0 IP) over his last 10 starts (beg. 6/18) to raise his season ERA from 2.32 to 3.52, still 12th-lowest among A.L. qualifiers…3.61 pitches per batter faced figure is lowest in A.L./T2nd-lowest in MLB…has struck out 106 of 518 (20.5%) of batters faced in ’23, which would be the 2nd-lowest SO pct. of his career (12.6% in 2020 w/ COL), despite a 25.9% swing-and-miss pct. that ranks 14th in A.L…will pitch on regular 4 days’ rest after taking the loss in his last start vs. LAA on Wed. (L, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R-ER, HR, 2 BB, 4 SO)…Gray’s ERA by month this season: April (3.91), May (1.95), June (3.99), July (5.48), Aug. (2.79)…this is Gray’s 2nd season with Texas after signing a 4-year free agent contract with the club on 12/1/21…was hindered by several injuries last season, but still managed to post a 7-7 record, 3.96 ERA (56 ER/127.1 IP), and 134 strikeouts over 24 starts…was 3rd overall selection by Colorado in 2013 MLB Draft after pitching 2 seasons at the U. of Oklahoma…is a native of the Oklahoma City area, growing up in Chandler…Texas is 12-10 in his 22 starts this season.

LAST START: Will pitch tonight on regular 4 days’ rest after taking the loss in his last start on Wed. vs. LAA (L, 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R-ER, HR, 2 BB, 4 SO)…it was his 2nd consecutive outing lasting at least 7.0 IP, as he notched the win on 8/11 at SF (W, 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 SO, 87 pitches/61 strikes)…was just the 9th start in TEX history of 7.0+ SHO IP while allowing 2-or-fewer hits and no BB with 7+ SO…Gray owns each of the last 2 starts on that list (also 7/13/22 vs. OAK) and joins Yu Darvish (4/2/13 at HOU and 6/23/17 at NYY) as the only pitchers with multiple such starts in a TEX career

VS. DIAMONDBACKS: Tonight’s start will be Gray’s 2nd time facing the Diamondbacks in 2023…did not factor into the decision on 5/2 vs. ARI at Globe Life Field even after leaving the game with a 3-4 deficit (ND, 5.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R-ER, 2 HR, 1 BB, 2 SO, 90 pitches/61 strikes)…is 5-7 with a 5.66 ERA (65 ER/103.1 IP) in 19 career starts vs. ARI…is 4-3 with a 4.68 ERA (26 ER/50.0 IP) in 9 career starts at Chase Field.

ON THE ROAD: Has seen far better results in 10 starts on the road (5-2, 2.76 ERA) than in 12 starts at home (3-4, 4.17 ERA) this season…among A.L. pitchers with at least 58.0 IP on the road in 2023, Gray’s 2.76 road ERA (18 ER/58.2 IP) is 2nd-lowest in the A.L/3rd-lowest in MLB…has allowed one-or-zero runs in 5 of his last 7 road outings, going 4-2, 2.40 ERA (12 ER/45.0 IP) in that span.

COMPLETE GAME: Was tough-luck loser in start on 6/7 vs. STL, a 1-0 Rangers defeat (CG, 9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R-ER, 0 BB, 12 SO, 1 HR, 100 pitches/76 strikes)…
according to Stathead, it marked just the 2nd time in modern MLB history that a pitcher took the loss despite 9.0+ IP, 12+ SO, 4-or-fewer hits, 1 R allowed, and
zero BB…the other instance?: TB’s James Shields on 10/2/12 vs. BAL…the lone run in Gray’s loss to the Cards was a solo HR by Alec Burleson in the 8th inning… it was the 23rd instance of a TEX starter taking a 1-0 loss in a CG, 1st since Matt Harrison on 9/22/12 at SEA…produced 2nd-highest game score of his career (87), trailing only CG SHO on 9/17/16 vs. SD (95 game score).

SCORELESS STREAKS: Has produced 2 of the longest scoreless streaks of his career since the start of May: 20.0 IP (5/26-6/7) and 17.0 IP (5/8-20)…Gray’s loss on 6/7 vs. STL ended spans in which he won a career-best 5 consecutive starts (5/8-6/2) along with a career-high 6-G win streak (4/9-6/2)…Gray was the 1st Ranger to win 5 consecutive starts since Lance Lynn from 6/17-7/11/19… Rangers went 5-0 in his 5 May starts, with Gray going 4-0, 1.95 (7 ER/32.1 IP) over 5 GS in May, 2nd-lowest monthly ERA of his career (min. 4 GS) to only a 1.89 figure over 5 G/GS in July 2016.

2023: Has allowed 3-or-fewer runs in 14 of his 22 starts…opp. BA by time thru the lineup: 1st (.246), 2nd (.268), 3rd (.205), 4th (0-4)…number of GS in ’23 by starting catcher: 12-Heim, 6-León, 3-Garver, 1-Hedges…Rangers went 5-0 in his May starts, with Gray going 4-0, 1.95 (7 ER/32.1 IP) in 5 GS for the month, 2nd-lowest monthly ERA of his career (min. 4 GS) to only 1.89 over 5 G/GS in July 2016…recorded 1,000th career strikeout on 4/26 at CIN (Spencer Steer)… made early exit in start on 4/15 at HOU (ND, 2.0 IP, 1 R-ER) after he took a liner off his right forearm…earned 1st win on 4/9 at CHC (5.2 IP, 2 R-ER), when Will Smith stranded bases loaded in the 6th inning…began start 5/13 at OAK w/ 6.2 hitless innings before a Jace Peterson 2-out single to RF in the 7th…it was the longest no-hit bid by a TEX starter since 4/15/18 at HOU, when Bartolo Colon retired the first 21 Astros…surpassed 1000.0 career innings during the start (on 2nd out in 6th inn.)…in win on 5/20 vs. COL, escaped a 27-pitch 1st inning in which the Rox loaded the bases with no outs and did not score…was 1st career meeting with the team that drafted him…has suffered a pair of 1-0 losses on solo HR in ’23 (6/7 vs. STL and 6/24 at NYY), joining Yu Darvish (2x in 2013) as the only starting pitchers in TEX history w/ multiple 1-0 losses in a season on a solo HR


IN THE WEST: The D-backs are third in the NL West, a 0.5 game behind the Giants, 12.5 games behind the Dodgers and 5.0 games ahead of the Padres.

PHAM’S MLB-LEADING 12-GAME HIT STREAK: Tommy Pham’s 12-game hit streak is tied for the longest in MLB (also: Jake Burger/MIA)…in the span, Pham is batting .300 (15-for-50)/.941 OPS with 5 doubles, 1 triple, 3 homers, 13 RBI and 2 walks… it marks his first 12+-game hitting streak since Aug 21-Sept. 14, 2018 (career-high 17 games) while with the Rays…he also had a 13-game streak from June 6-June 19, 2018 while with the Cardinals, the second longest of his career.

WAM, BAM, WALKOFF FOR PHAM: Last night, with his 2-run double in the bottom of the 11th inning, Tommy Pham recorded his fourth career walk-off hit (last: Aug. 12, 2022 vs. Yankees):

Date Tm Opp Pitcher Score Event Inn Out
Aug. 21, 2023 … AZ TEX Smith B 1-3 2B Bot 11 2
Aug. 12, 2022 ……BOS NYY Trivino T 2-2 1B Bot 10 1
Sept. 2, 2019 ……TB BAL Tate T 4-4 1B Bot 10 2
Aug. 26, 2017 ……STL TB Boxberger T 4-4 HR Bot 9 0

IN EXTRAS: The D-backs improved to 3-3 in extra-inning games this season and 2-2 in extras vs. Rangers all-time… it was the D-backs first extra-innings win vs. Rangers @ Chase Field in franchise history (lost previous 2 games: L; 5-6 in 11 inn. on July 15, 2000 @ Chase Field & L; 8-9 in 12 inn. on June 25, 2009 @ Chase Field)…it was the D-backs second ever win in extras vs. Rangers and first since July 17, 1999 @ Globe Life Park in Arlington (W, 8-6 in 10 innings)… in that victory, the D-backs also tied the game in the ninth inning and then scored twice in the 10th.

WE ARE THE ANSWER-BACKS: The D-backs’ 32 comeback wins this season are tied for fourth most in the NL (also: Giants and Dodgers) [T-7th most in MLB], behind the Reds (37), Phillies (34) and Braves (33).

♦ Last night’s win marked the D-backs’ third victory after facing a 1+-run deficit in the eighth inning or later in their last 7 games (also: Aug. 15- 16 @ Rockies)… the D-backs 11 wins this season when facing a 1+-run deficit in the eighth inning or later are tied for the most in the Majors (also: Braves, Marlins and Giants).

SERIES-LY THOUGH: With a win today, the D-backs will secure their fourth straight series victory (also: 2-1 vs. Padres, 2-1 @ Rockies and 3-1 @ Padres).0

RECENT PITCHING: Since Aug. 17, among teams with 5 games played in the span, D-backs’ pitchers collectively boast the lowest WHIP (0.93), ERA (2.35 ERA; 12 ER in 46.0 IP) and fewest hits allowed (24)…the Mariners have the second-lowest ERA in the span (2.80) and Tigers follow (2.86).

VS. RANGERS: The D-backs’ 6 triples, 24 home runs and 85 RBI vs. Rangers since 2019 are the most by any NL opponent… the D-backs are 2-1 this season vs. Rangers and have outscored them 20-16 over their 3 matchups in 2023…the D-backs are 5-4 vs. Rangers in their last 9 matchups @ home.

♦ The D-backs have 5 doubles, 4 triples and 7 home runs vs. Rangers in their last 5 home contests (since Sept. 22, 2020).

♦ This season, Arizona is 7-5 vs. AL West opponents: 2-1 vs. Rangers, 2-1 vs. Athletics, 2-1 vs. Angels and 1-2 vs. Mariners.

MARTE TARGETING 100: Ketel Marte’s 99 home runs as a D-back ranks tied for ninth (also: Matt Williams) on the D-backs franchise list.

♦ Marte is 1 of 12 D-backs with 90+ home runs and looks to become the ninth D-back to reach the 100+ home run mark: 224 – Luis Gonzalez; 209 – Paul Goldschmidt; 153 – Steve Finley; 132 – Chris Young; 121 – Mark Reynolds; 109 – Christian Walker; 110 – David Peralta; 108 – Justin Upton; 99 – Matt Williams; 99 – Ketel Marte; 97 – Miguel Montero; 91 – Jay Bell.

CARROLL’S AGE 22 POWER-SPEED: Corbin Carroll, who turned 23 yesterday, 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):

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: 2023 NL All-Star starting pitcher.

  • In 4 starts in August, is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA (6 ER in 25.1 IP) with 25 strikeouts, a 0.91

WHIP and .200 opponent average.

  • His career-high 13 wins are 1 win shy of the MLB wins lead (14).
  • His1.82 home ERA leads the Majors.
  • Dating back to 2022, his 2.17 home ERA is second in the Majors behind Justin Verlander/HOU (1.99) and ahead of Shohei Ohtani/LAD (2.25) and Sandy Alcantara/MIA (2.41).
  • His 4.5 fWAR (FanGraphs) is second in the Majors behind Zack Wheeler/PHI (4.8) and ahead of Kevin Gausman/TOR (4.4) and Spencer Strider/ATL (4.3).

ALL-STAR STATUS: Tossed 1.0 scoreless inning (1 H, 0 BB, 1 K) in his first career All-Star start and selection for the NL in the the 2023 All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park.

  • Is the youngest D-backs pitcher, third overall (fourth time) and first since Curt Schilling (2002) to start an All-Star Game.
  • Is the youngest NL starting pitcher since Matt Harvey in 2013 (24).

NL RANKINGS: Ranks among qualifying NL leaders in WHIP (1st, 1.05), wins (T-2nd, 13), innings pitched (3rd, 162.0), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4th, 5.09) and ERA (4th, 3.17).

HOME COOKIN: In 12 home games, is 10-1 with a 1.82 ERA (16 ER in 79.1 IP) with 92 strikeouts, a 0.89 WHIP and .204 opponent average.

  • His 10 wins @ home are tied for the most in the Majors (also: Zach Efl in/TB and Justin Steele/CHC).
  • Has allowed 3 or fewer runs in 10 of his 12 starts @ Chase Field this season.
  • In 18 home starts since the 2022 All-Star break, is 14-2 with a 1.45 ERA (21 R-19 ER in 117.2 IP).

LAST START: Improved to a career-high 13-5 on Aug. 17 @ Padres (W; 1 ER in 6.1 IP).

  • Retired 19 of the 23 batters faced.

VS. RANGERS: In 2 career starts against the Rangers, is 0-1 with a 4.63 ERA (6 ER in 11.2 IP) and 14 strikeouts.

  • Posted a no-decision in his last start on May 2, 2023 @ Rangers (3 ER in 5.0 IP, 6 K).

INNING INFO : Has pitched 6.0+ innings in his last 6 starts and struckout 8 batters in 3 of those 6 contests.

  • Is 13-2 with a 2.31 ERA (36 R-34 ER in 132.1 IP), 140 strikeouts, 0.86 WHIP and .199 average when he pitches 6.0 innings.

CURVE BREAKDOWN : In his last 5 starts, is limiting opponents to a .071 average (2-for-28) with 11 strikeouts on his changeup.

LIMITING THE LONG BALL: Has not allowed a home run in his last 3 games (71 BF).

AHEAD IN THE COUNT: His .132 opponent average (29-for-220; 86 K) when ahead in the count is third among MLB starters (min. 15 GS), behind Blake Snell/SD (.115) and Edward Cabrera/MIA (.131) and ahead of Yusei Kikuchi/TOR (.136).

RISP-Y BUSINESS : In his last 3 starts, holding runners in scoring position to a .167 average (2-for-12) with 4 strikeouts.

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