Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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MLB World Series Game 1 Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks (0-0) at Texas Rangers (0-0)



The 119th World Series features just the third all-Wild Card matchup between the Rangers (#5-seed) and D-backs (#6-seed)…the other 2 all-Wild Card World Series matchups: 2014 Giants vs. Royals and 2002 Giants vs. Angels.

This will be the first World Series played in 2 different climate-controlled parks (Globe Life Field and Chase Field).

BATTLE OF THE WEST: This will mark the ninth World Series matchup of teams from the AL West and the NL West divisions, and just the fourth under the current 6-division format.

The previous 8: 2017, Astros defeated Dodgers in 7 games; 2010, Giants defeated Rangers in 5 games; 2002, Angels defeated Giants in 7 games; 1990, Reds defeated Athletics in 4 games; 1989, Athletics defeated Giants in 4 games; 1988, Dodgers defeated Athletics in 5 games; 1974, Athletics defeated Dodgers in 5 games; and 1972, Athletics defeated Reds in 7 games.

ANOTHER EXPANSION SERIES: The 2023 World Series marks the third Fall Classic to feature a pair of expansion teams with the Rangers (1972) and the D-backs (1998).

The previous 2: 2015, Royals and Mets; 2019, Nationals and Astros. A NEW PAIR: The D-backs-Rangers World Series matchup is the 10th consecutive season with a first-time World Series matchup.

Previous 9: Astros vs. Phillies in 2022; Braves vs. Astros in 2021; Dodgers vs. Rays in 2020; Nationals vs. Astros in 2019; Red Sox vs. Dodgers in 2018; Astros vs. Dodgers in 2017; Cubs vs. Indians in 2016; Royals vs. Mets in 2015; and Giants vs. Royals in 2014.

11 of the last 12 World Series have featured first-time matchups (also: Giants vs. Tigers in 2012).

SNAKES ALIVE: The D-backs’ 3 games this Postseason with 4+ stolen bases ranks tied for the most in MLB Postseason history (also: 2008 Rays and 1907 Cubs).

The D-backs have 4 stolen bases in consecutive games (NLCS Games 6 and 7)… only 2 other teams have met the feat: 1989 Athletics and 1907 Cubs (2 occasions)…no team has ever had 3 straight.

The franchise record for stolen bases in a Postseason game is 4 (NLCS Game 6 and 7 and Oct. 9 in Game 2 of the NLDS @ Dodgers)… there are only 15 instances in MLB Postseason history where a team had 5+ stolen bases in a game.

The D-backs are 6-0 this Postseason when they record 1+ stolen bases in a game.

HEAD-TO-HEAD WITH TEXAS: The D-backs won 3 of their 4 matchups vs. Rangers this season (1-1 on road, 2-0 @ home)…over the 4 games, Arizona averaged 8 hits, 1 homer, 6 runs and 4 walks.

In their 2 road games @ Globe Life Field, the D-backs collected 19 hits, including 6 home runs, and 11 walks.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Gets the starting nod for Game 1 of the World Series.

Making his fifth career Postseason start and fourth on the road.

In 4 Postseason starts, is 2-2 with a 5.24 ERA (13 ER in 22.1 IP, 13 K).

In 3 Postseason road starts, is 2-1 with a 4.96 ERA (9 ER in 16.1 IP, 12 K).

LAST START: Started Game 5 of the NLCS on Oct. 21 vs. Phillies on Oct. 21 (4 ER in 6.0 IP).

VS. RANGERS: In 2 regular season starts in 2023, went 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA (4 ER in 11.0 IP).

Did not factor in the decision in his lone start @ Globe Life Field on May 2, 2023 (3 ER in 5.0 IP, 6 K).

In 3 regular season career starts vs. Rangers, is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA (7 ER in 17.2 IP, 25 K).


WINS AND LOSSES: The Rangers enter tonight’s WS G1 having won back-to-back games to end the ALCS, but club has lost 3 of last 5 after opening the 2023 postseason with a franchise-best 7-G win streak: ALWC G1-2 at TB, ALDS G1-2-3 at/vs. BAL, and ALCS G1-2 at HOU…it surpassed the previous longest postseason win streak in Rangers history, a 5-0 span in 2011 (ALDS G2-3-4 vs. TB + ALCS G1-2 vs. DET)…Rangers are now 9-3 in the 2023 postseason, tied with ARI for most wins and best win pct…the 9 wins are the 2nd-most the Rangers have ever had in a single postseason (10 in 2011).

The Rangers’ 7-G win streak was T5th-longest in MLB history in a single postseason, as only longer win streak in one year is 8 games, done 4 times by 2004 BOS, 2005 CWS, 2014 KC, and 2019 WSH.

The 2023 Rangers were just the 6th team in MLB history to win 7-or-more straight to open a postseason…the 7-0 run to open the 2023 postseason was T2nd-longest such win streak in MLB history, as only 2014 KC (8-0) began a postseason with a longer win streak.

WORLD SERIES NO. 3: The Rangers have advanced to the World Series for the 3rd time in franchise history, losing its previous two Fall Classic appearances in 2010 (4-1 vs. SF) and 2011 (4-3 vs. STL)…the Rangers’ 3 World Series appearances since 2010 are 2nd-most among A.L. clubs and T2nd-most in MLB over that span: 4-HOU, 3-TEX/LAD/SF, 2-BOS/KC/STL.

While there is only one franchise to have never appeared in the World Series (Seattle), the Rangers remain one of 6 current franchises to have never won the Fall Classic…the others: COL, MIL, SD, SEA, TB…the Rangers are the only member of that 6-franchise list to have made multiple WS appearances without winning a title…Texas has gone the first 62 years of the franchise’s history without a World Series title (1961-2022, the 2nd-longest active drought behind only Cleveland (75 including 2023).

The Rangers are 4-8 in 12 previous World Series games, losing 2 straight (2011 WS G6-7 at STL), but going 3-3 in last 6 after dropping 5 of the 1st 6 WS contests in franchise history.

GAME 1: This will be the Rangers’ 1st World Series Game 1 ever in Arlington…TEX is 7-8 all-time in G1 of postseason series (including 2012 A.L. Wild Card Game), going 3-0 in G1’s in the 2023 postseason after having dropped 3 of 4 and 6 of previous 8 entering this month…Rangers are 1-4 in Game 1’s at home, losing 2 straight since lone win in 2011 ALCS G1 vs. DET…club has one-or-zero runs in 3 of the 4 G1 defeats at home all-time.

COREY’S HOUSE: Corey Seager will be making his 3rd career World Series appearance (also 2020, 2017 w/ LAD) in this year’s Fall Classic… in the 2020 World Series vs. TB played here at Globe Life Field, Seager slashed .400/.556/.700/1.256 (8-20) with 2 HR, 5 RBI, and 6 BB/4 SO over 6 G en route to earning World Series Most Valuable Player honors… across 20 career postseason games at Globe Life Field, Seager is batting .333/.427/.760/1.187 (25-75) with 9 HR, 5 2B, 21 RBI, 22 R, and 12 BB/10 SO…his lifetime 1.187 OPS figure at GLF in the postseason is the 2nd-highest career postseason OPS by any player at a single venue (min. 75 PA):

TONIGHT’S STARTING PITCHER –  #17 Nathan Eovaldi, RHP (4-0, 2.42)

POSTSEASON: The 33-year-old right-hander will be making his 5th start of the 2023 postseason tonight in Game 1 of the 2023 World Series vs. Arizona…will be working on regular 4 days’ rest after earning the win in Texas’ 9-2 victory in ALCS G6 at HOU on Sunday (see ‘Last Start’)…has gone 8-3, 2.87 ERA (22 ER/69.0 IP) across 15 games/10 starts in his postseason career with Texas (2023) and Boston (2021, 2018)… his 8 career postseason wins are tied for 4th-most among active Major League pitchers, trailing only Justin Verlander (17), Clayton Kershaw (13), and Gerrit Cole (10)… his lifetime .727 winning pct. in the postseason ranks T5th all-time (min. 10 postseason starts) behind Curt Schilling (.846, 11-2), John Smoltz (.789, 15-4), Red Ruffing (.778, 7-2), and Orlando Hernandez (.750, 9-3)…Eovaldi also ranks among MLB’s all-time postseason leaders (min. 60.0+ IP in postseason) in SO/BB ratio (3rd, 5.75), BB/9 (6th, 1.57), opp. OPS (9th, .544), BR/9 (11th, 8.87), and WHIP (12th, 0.97).

Texas: Has earned wins in each of his 4 starts during Texas’ 2023 postseason run, going 4-0, 2.42 ERA (7 ER/26.0 IP) with 28 SO/4 BB and 2 HR allowed…Rangers are undefeated (4-0) this postseason when Eovaldi starts…4 wins are the most ever by a Texas pitcher in one postseason, and tie the career mark for playoff wins in club history (Colby Lewis, 4-1 in 10 G/9 GS from 2010-16)…Eovaldi is the 27th pitcher in MLB history to post 4+ wins in a single postseason (last 4 by Kershaw/Julio Urías in 2020)… just 3 pitchers have ever reached 5 wins in a single postseason: WAS’ Stephen Strasburg in 2019 (5), LAA’s Francisco Rodríguez in 2002 (5), and ARI’s Randy Johnson in 2001 (5)…has opened this postseason with 4 straight quality starts (6.0+ IP, 3-or-fewer ER), joining Cliff Lee in 2010 (also 4 QS) as the only pitchers in club history with 4 QS in a single postseason…Eovaldi is just the 7th pitcher in MLB history to earn a win and post a QS in each of his first 4 outings of a postseason (last STL’s Michael Wacha in 2013)…his 28 strikeouts in these playoffs rank 2nd to only PHI’s Zack Wheeler (35) and are the 2nd-most ever by a Ranger in one postseason (47-Lee in 2010).

Boston: Ranks T5th in Red Sox history with 4 postseason wins…in 2018, won both starts (ALDS G3 at NYY; ALCS G3 at HOU) and made 4 relief appearances, posting 1.61 ERA (4 ER/22.1 IP) with 3 BB/16 SO…became the 4th pitcher to throw 6.0+ innings and allow 2 runs or fewer in each of his first 2 career postseason outings, both for BOS: Dutch Leonard (1915-16), Babe Ruth (1916-18), Jim Lonborg (1967).

FALL CLASSIC: Eovaldi will be making his 1st career World Series start tonight, joining C.J. Wilson (2011) and Cliff Lee (2010) as the only pitchers to ever start Game 1 of a World Series for the Rangers…he went 0-1, 1.13 ERA (1 ER/8.0 IP) with 6 SO/1 BB over 3 relief outings for Boston in the 2018 World Series vs. LAD, his lone Fall Classic action to date…pitched in Game 1 vs. LAD (1.0 SHO IP), Game 2 vs. LAD (1.0 SHO IP), and Game 3 at LAD (L, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO) in that series… threw 97 pitches over 6.0 IP in Sox’ 18-inning loss in Game 3, the longest World Series relief outing (by innings) since LAD’s Rick Rhoden in 1977 WS G4 vs. NYY (7.0 IP).

LAST START: Earned the win in Texas’ 9-2 victory to stave off elimination in ALCS G6 at HOU on Sun. (W, 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R-ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 88 pitches/51 strikes)…joined Cliff Lee (2010 ALDS G5 at TB: CG, 9.0 IP, 1 R-ER) as the only Rangers pitchers ever to win an elimination game in the postseason…fell into early 1-0 hole after surrendering RBI single to Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the 1st, but held Houston scoreless over next 4 frames before exiting in the 7th with Texas leading, 3-2…Rangers went on to score 6 unanswered runs in the 8th (1) and 9th (5) to provide the final margin.

VS. ARIZONA: Has never faced Arizona in the postseason, but is undefeated (3-0) with a 2.78 ERA (10 ER/32.1 IP) over 8 games/5 starts against the Dbacks in his career… last faced the Snakes in start for New York-AL on 5/18/16 at ARI (W, 6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R-ER, 0 BB, 5 SO), leading the Yankees to a 4-2 win…lone hit allowed was 1st-inning leadoff double by Jean Segura…Eovaldi’s current Rangers teammate, Aroldis Chapman (S, 1.0 IP, 1 SO), recorded a save for the Yanks in that contest…none of the 16 pitchers and position players who appeared for Arizona in that game 2,718 days ago remain on the team’s active roster for this World Series.

AT HOME: Saw slightly better results in 13 starts on the road (6-2, 3.56 ERA) vs. 12 starts at Globe Life Field (6-3, 3.70 ERA) in regular season…had nearly identical opp. slash lines allowed in away starts (.227/.294/.367.661) vs. at home (.221/.296/.400/.696)… tonight’s start will be just his 2nd at home this postseason (also W, 7.0 IP, 1 R-ER in ALDS G3 vs. BAL), as 3 of his 4 playoff outings in 2023 have come on the road.

2023: Went 12-5, 3.63 ERA (58 ER/144.0 IP) with 132 strikeouts over 25 starts in his first season with Texas…had All-Star campaign interrupted by lengthy stint on 15-day Injured List (right forearm strain) from 7/27-9/4…was 11-3, 2.69 (37 ER/123.2 IP) over first 19 starts prior to being placed IL, but went 1-2, 9.30 ERA (21 ER/20.1 IP) across final 6 starts following activation…still finished season ranked among A.L. pitchers (min. 140.0 IP) in opp. BA (5th, .225), H/9 (5th, 7.31), wins (T10th), and ERA (13th).

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