Tuesday, February 20, 2024
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MLB World Series Game 2 Preview: Arizona Diamondbacks (0-1) at Texas Rangers (1-0)

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACK NOTES:

CARROLL COMES IN HOT:

With his 2-run triple in the third inning in Game 1 of the World Series, Corbin Carroll became the fi rst D-back ever to record a triple in the Postseason and, at 23-067 days old, became the youngest D-back to record a hit in the World Series, surpassing teammate Alek Thomas (23-082) who reached on an infi eld single 2 batters earlier in the same inning.

Per the FOX broadcast, Carroll became the second-youngest rookie to bat first overall in World Series Game 1, behind Freddie Lindstrom (age 18) in 1924.

Carroll also became the first player with a triple and 2 RBI in his first career World Series game since Curt Flood/STL (1964) and eighth player in MLB history with a triple and 2 RBI in his first career World Series game (also: Flood; Vic Wertz (1954 with CLE); Bill Nicholson (1945 with CHI); Marty Marion (1942 with STL); Dutch Ruether (1919 with CIN); George Whitted (1914 with BSN); and Wally Schang (1913 with PHA).

EXTRAS:

Last night marked the first time this Postseason where a game went to extra innings and the first time in MLB history that Game 1 of the World Series went to extra-innings in back-to-back years (also: 2022 World Series Game 1 between Astros and Phillies, 10 innings).

It was the first time a game went to the 11th inning since the 2018 World Series, when the Red Sox and Dodgers went 18 innings.

THE 119TH WORLD SERIES:

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.

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

BATTLE OF THE WEST:

This marks 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.

STARTING PITCHER – RHP MERRILL KELLY ♦ #29

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Making his fourth career Postseason start and third on the road. • In 2 Postseason starts, is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA (5 ER in 17.0 IP, 19 K).

LAST START: Earned the win when facing elimination in Game 6 of the NLCS @ Phillies on Oct. 23 (1 ER in 5.0 IP, 8 K).

VS. RANGERS: Earned the win in his lone career start @ Globe Life Field on July 28, 2020 (1 ER in 7.2 IP, 7 K).

NLCS RECAP: Went 1-1 with a 4.22 ERA (5 ER in 10.2 IP, 14 K) in 2 starts against the Phillies. • Started Game 2 of the NLCS @ Phillies on Oct. 17 (4 ER in 5.2 IP, 6 K). NLDS RECAP: Earned the win in his Postseason debut in Game 1 of the NLDS @ Dodgers on Oct. 7 (0 ER in 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 5 K). • Became the fourth D-backs starting pitcher (fifth time) in a Postseason start to not allow a run (also: Miguel Batista/Nov. 1, 2001; Randy Johnson/Oct. 16 and 28, 2001; Curt Schilling/Oct. 9, 2001).

2023 REGULAR SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: • Went 12-8 with a 3.29 ERA (65 ER in 177.2 IP) in his fifth season with the D-backs. • Set a career high in strikeouts (187) [previous: 177 in 2022]. • Made his 100th career start with the D-backs on April 11 and finished the season with 127 starts, the 6th most starts all-time among D-backs starters. • On April 6, struck out David Peralta in the fourth inning for his 500th career strikeout. • Is 1 of 11 pitchers to toss 4 seasons of 150.0+ innings since 2019. • Went 7-3 with a 4.07 ERA (38 ER in 84.0 IP) in 15 road starts. • Finished seventh with a 3.9 bWAR and tied for 12th with a 3.2 fWAR.

NL RANKINGS: Ranked among NL leaders in ERA (5th, 3.29), opponent average (6th, .222), win percentage (9th, .600) and WHIP (10th, 1.19).

FRANCHISE RANKINGS: Ranked among D-backs starters in franchise history (min. 50 starts) in wins (T-5th, 48), starts (6th, 127), WHIP (7th, 1.22), innings pitched (7th, 750.2), strikeouts (8th, 681) and ERA (9th, 3.80).

STEE-RIKE!: On Sept. 4 vs. Rockies, tied a season high and career-high 12 strikeouts (4 H, 1 BB). • Also recorded 12 strikeouts on August 24 vs. Reds and May 20, 2021 @ Dodgers. 600 K’S: On July 30 vs. Mariners, struck out J.P. Crawford in the fourth inning, to become the ninth pitcher in franchise history to record 600 strikeouts, joining Randy Johnson (2,077), Brandon Webb (1,065), Robbie Ray (998), Patrick Corbin (897), Curt Schilling (875), Ian Kennedy (705), Zac Gallen (686) and Zack Greinke (683).

MADE YOU LOOK: Collected a career-high 6 strikeouts “looking” on May 28 vs. Red Sox (previous: 5, Sept. 20, 2019 @ Padres), 1 shy of tying the franchise record (7, Wade Miley/2014 & Dan Haren/2009) and most by a starting pitcher this season (7, Zach Eflin/TB). (Source: Sportradar)

VS. LEFT AND RIGHT: From May 5-June 2, held lefties to a .162 average (11-for-68) with 24 strikeouts, while righties batted .191(13-for-68) with 23 strikeouts.

SHOW ‘EM WHAT YOU GOT : In the first time through the lineup, limited hitters to a .190 average (45-for-237) with 70 strikeouts.

IL REPORT: Was placed on the 15-day injured list (right calf inflammation) on June 27… reinstated on July 25.

TEXAS RANGERS NOTES:

WINS AND LOSSES: The Rangers have won 3 straight after last night’s walk-off WS G1 victory, going 3-3 in last 6 G 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…Rangers are now 10-3 in the 2023 postseason, most wins and best win pct. in MLB…the 10 wins match the most by Texas in a single postseason (also 10 in 2011)…the most wins ever by a team in a single postseason?: 13 by 2020 LAD…Rangers could match that figure by winning this year’s World Series. • The Rangers’ 7-G win streak was T5th-longest in MLB history in a single 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. • The Rangers are 5-8 in 13 all-time World Series games, losing 2 of 3 (2011 WS G6-7 at STL), but going 4-3 in last 7 after dropping 5 of the 1st 6 WS contests in franchise history.

TAKE ME HOME: This is the 1st time in 4 series in this 2023 postseason for Texas to have home field advantage, the 1st instance overall in the postseason since 2016 ALDS vs. TOR (lost series, 3-games-to-0). • Texas has held home field for just 4 of the previous 14 multi-game postseason series in club history (excluding 2012 WC Game), winning 3 of the 4 instances: 2010 ALCS vs. NYY (4-2), 2011 ALDS vs. TB (3-1), and 2011 ALCS vs. DET (4-2). • TEX is 4-3 all-time in World Series games in Arlington, winning 3 straight (2011 WS G4-5 vs. STL, 2023 WS G1 vs. ARI).

GAME 2: Texas is 9-5 all-time in Game 2’s entering tonight, having won all 3 in this postseason, 7 of 8 and 9 of the last 11…only Game 2 losses since start of 2010 came in 2010 WS Game 2 at San Francisco and 2016 ALDS Game 2 vs. Toronto…Rangers are 3-1 all-time in home Game 2’s, losing most recent instance (2016 ALDS G2 vs. TOR) after winning 1st 3 such games in franchise history: 2010 ALCS G2 vs. NYY, 2011 ALDS G2 vs. TB, and 2011 ALCS G2 vs. DET…3 of the Rangers’ 11 all-time home postseason wins have come in Game 2’s. • With last night’s win, the Rangers are 4-0 in Game 1’s in the 2023 postseason…the only other teams in MLB history to win 4 Game 1’s in a single postseason: 2014 SF (4), 2022 PHI (4).

LATE WIN: Some notes on last night’s 6-5, 11-inning win for Texas: • It was the 2nd postseason walk-off win in Rangers history, the other in 2011 ALCS G2 vs. DET (Nelson Cruz walk-off grand slam in 11th inn.). • It was the 1st walk-off win in a WS since 2020 WS G4 (TB over LAD), the memorable Brett Phillips game-ending single, a game also played here at Globe Life Field. • It was the 9th walk-off win all-time in a WS G1, 2nd in the last 23 years beg. 2001, the other 2015 WS G1 (KC vs. NYM) when Royals’ Eric Hosmer hit a game-ending sac fly in the 14th. • It was the 11th time in World Series history for a team to win after trailing by multiple runs in the 9th-or-later, 1st time since the Kansas City Royals in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series at NYM (KC won 7-2 after trailing 0-2 entering the 9th)…credit: MLB’s Sarah Langs. • It was the 4th postseason extra-inning win in Rangers history, 1st since 2015 ALDS G2 at TOR (6-4 in 14 inn.) • It was the most innings (11) in a WS game since 2018 WS G3 (LAD vs. BOS) at Dodger Stadium, a 3-2 LAD victory which also featured a lengthy appearance by Nathan Eovaldi.

IN THE LEAD: The winner of WS G1 has gone on to win the Fall Classic 74 times (62.7%), including 16 of the last 20 and 21 of the last 25 WS beg. 1997, with 2002 (SF/ANA), 2009 (PHI/NYY), 2016 (CLE/CHC), 2017 (LAD/ HOU) and 2022 (PHI/HOU) the exceptions…since 1997, teams that have won WS G1 at home have gone on to win the series in 14 of 16 instances, the lone exceptions coming in 2016 and 2017.

LATE BLASTS: In last night’s World Series G1, Corey Seager hit a game-tying 2-run home run in the 9th and Adolis García hit a walk-off solo home run in the 11th…the Rangers became just the 3rd team in World Series history to hit multiple game-tying or go-ahead HR in a game in the 9th-or-later…the others: 2017 HOU in WS G2 at LAD (3x) and 2001 NYY in WS G4 vs. ARI (2x)

SHORTS: Texas combined to work 10 walks last night, 10th time in World Series history for a team to post 10+ BB in a game (last 12 BB by HOU in 2005 WS G3 vs. CWS)…José Leclerc’s 12.1 relief innings are the 3rd-most ever by a TEX pitcher in a single postseason (13.2-Scott Feldman in 2011, 13.0-Alexi Ogando in 2011)…Leclerc has finished each of TEX’s 10 wins this postseason, 9th pitcher ever w/ 10+ GF in a single postseason…Evan Carter (2-6, 2 2B) and Josh Jung (2-5, 2 1B) last night became the 1st pair of rookie teammates to each tally multiple hits in a WS game since BOS’ Jacoby Ellsbury (4 H) and Dustin Pedroia (3 H) in 2007 WS G3 at COL.

GAME 2 STARTING PITCHER – #52 Jordan Montgomery, LHP (3-0, 2.16)

POSTSEASON: Montgomery will be making his 6th appearance/5th start of the 2023 postseason tonight, working on regular 4 days’ rest after logging 2.1 scoreless relief innings in Texas’ 11-4 win in ALCS G7 at HOU on Mon. (see ‘Last Outing’)…this will be his 1st career World Series appearance…the Sumter, SC native and former University of South Carolina pitcher will be just the 7th South Carolina native ever to start a World Series game (as a pitcher)…the last pitcher from The Palmetto State to start in the Fall Classic was SF’s Billy O’Dell (born in Whitmire, SC) in Game 1 of the 1962 World Series vs. NYY (L, 7.1 IP, 5 R-ER). • 2023: Has gone 3-0, 2.16 ERA (6 ER/25.0 IP) with 17 SO/4 BB in 5 G/4 GS in these playoffs…has earned wins in 3 of the 5 outings, T2nd-most wins ever by a Ranger in a single postseason (4-Nathan Eovaldi in 2023)…with a win tonight, Montgomery and Eovaldi would join ARI’s Randy Johnson (5)/Curt Schilling (4) in 2001 and LAD’s Clayton Kershaw (4)/Julio Urias (4) in 2020 as the 3rd pair of teammates in MLB history to record 4+ wins each in a single postseason…1st pitcher in Texas history with multiple scoreless starts in the postseason: ALWC G1 at TB (7.0 SHO IP), ALCS G1 at HOU (6.1 SHO IP). • Career: Is 3-0, 1.99 ERA (7 ER/31.2 IP) across 7 G/5 GS in his playoff career, the 4th-lowest postseason ERA by any pitcher with 5+ playoff starts in the Wild Card Era (beg. 1995): 1.26-Ian Anderson (8 GS), 1.46-Stephen Strasburg (8 GS), 1.62-Ranger Suarez (7 GS)…last postseason action before 2023 came in scoreless 2.2-inn. relief outing for STL in 2022 NLWC G2 vs. PHI (2 H, 3 BB, 3 SO, 37 pitches/22 strikes)…first career postseason app. was start for NYY in 2020 ALDS G4 vs. TB (ND, 4.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R-ER, 3 BB, 4 SO, 62 pitches/34 strikes).

LAST OUTING: Earned his 3rd win of this postseason after tossing 2.1 SHO IP out of the bullpen in Texas’ 11-4 victory in ALCS G7 at HOU on Mon. (W, 2.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 SO, 32 pitches/22 strikes)…pitched on just 2 days’ rest after making start in ALCS G5 vs. HOU (W, 6.1 SHO IP), the 1st time of his career (reg. or postseason) to pitch on fewer than 4 days’ rest…marked the longest scoreless relief outing in Game 7 of an LCS or WS since LAD’s Julio Urias in 2020 NLCS G7 vs. LAD (3.0 SHO IP)…entered in relief of Max Scherzer with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd in the 3rd inning, retiring Jeremy Pena (L6) to maintain a 4-2 TEX lead…blanked Houston thru the 5th inning as Rangers expanded their lead to 8-2.

VS. ARIZONA: Montgomery has gone 0-1, 5.25 ERA (7 ER/12.0 IP) in 2 games/ starts against the Diamondbacks in his career, with both starts coming in 2023: 4/18/23 vs. ARI w/ STL (L, 4.0 IP, 10 H, 7 R-ER) and 8/21/23 at ARI w/ TEX (ND, 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R)…in the former start with St. Louis, surrendered season highs in H (10), ER (7), and R (7-tied)…3 of 7 R allowed came via 3-R HR by Gabriel Moreno in the 4th inning…in the latter start with Texas, blanked the Snakes over 8.0 IP at Chase Field before exiting with the Rangers leading 1-0 entering the bottom of the 9th…Texas went on to lose, 4-3, in 11 innings following blown saves by Aroldis Chapman (9th inn., 1 R-ER) and Will Smith (11th inn., 3 R-2 ER)…Tommy Pham delivered the walk-off blow with a 2-run 2B off Smith in the bottom of the 11th. AT HOME: Saw far better ERA results in 15 starts on the road (3-6, 2.73 ERA) than in 17 starts at home (7-5, 3.61 ERA) in the regular season…went 3-1, 3.82 ERA (15 ER/35.1 IP) in 6 starts here at Globe Life Field with Texas and 4-4, 3.50 ERA (25 ER/64.1 IP) in 11 starts at Busch Stadium with St. Louis…4 of his 5 outings (incl. 3 of 4 starts) this postseason have been on the road…lone start at Globe Life Field in the postseason came in ALCS G5 vs. HOU (ND, 5.1 IP, 2 R-ER), a 5-4 Texas loss in which Jose Altuve hit a go-ahead 3-R HR in the 9th inn.

IT’S HOW YOU FINISH: Montgomery went 2-0, 0.67 ERA (2 ER/27.0 IP) with 22 SO/5 BB and a .196 opp. BA over his last 4 starts (9/13-28) to end the season, as he registered quality starts (6.0+ IP, 3-or-fewer ER) in each of those outings… after opening 2-6, 4.55 ERA (28 ER/55.1 IP) in his first 10 starts, he went 8-5, 2.63 (39 ER/133.1 IP) with 114 SO/32 BB, .232 opp. BA, and just 11 HR allowed over his last 22 starts (beg. 5/28) to close the regular season…his 2.63 ERA after 5/28 ranked 4th among MLB qualifiers over that span behind only SD’s Blake Snell (1.18), BAL’s Kyle Bradish (2.40), and NYM’s Kodai Senga (2.59)…posted quality starts in 13 of 22 outings over that period, incl. each of his last 4 starts. 2023: The 30-year-old southpaw combined to go 10-11, 3.20 ERA (67 ER/188.2 IP) with a career-high 166 strikeouts (prev. 162 in 2021 w/ NYY) across 32 starts with St. Louis (21 GS) and Texas (11 GS) this season…ranked among MLB qualifiers in HR/9 (7th, 0.86), ERA (8th), and GIDP/9 (8th, 0.95)…his career-high 20 quality starts (6.0+ IP, 3-or-fewer ER) were T5th-most in MLB and tied for most among left-handers with CHC’s Justin Steele, HOU’s Framber Valdez, and SD’s Blake Snell…compiled his first career 10-win campaign, but was still just the 7th qualified pitcher in the last 8 seasons (beg. 2016) to finish with a sub-.500 season W-L record (.476) despite posting an ERA of 3.20-or-lower…received an average of 4.72 runs in support, 14th-lowest RSA among MLB qualifiers…his teams went 11-21 in his starts (7-14 w/ STL, 4-7 w/ TEX).

WITH TEXAS: Was acquired by the Rangers on 7/30 in a trade with St. Louis, 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…went 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA (21 ER/67.2 IP) and 58 SO/13 BB over 11 starts (8 quality starts) as a Ranger, ranking among A.L. leaders from 8/1-end of season in innings (4th), opp. OPS (7th, .630), and ERA (8th).

VS. LEFTIES: Montgomery limited left-handed batters to a .277/.292/.347/.639 (28-101) slash line with one HR and 22 SO/2 BB in 2023…lefties tallied just 4 extra-base hits (HR, 3B, 2 2B) off him this season, the last of which was a home run by Cody Bellinger on 7/23/23 at CHC w/ STL…he has issued walks to just 3 of 215 (1.39%) left-handed batters faced over the last 2 seasons (2022-23), easily the lowest walk pct. against lefties in MLB (min. 200 LH batters faced) over that span (2nd is 3.4% by Dylan Bundy)…lefties have slashed .221/.261/.319/.579 with 11 HR, 123 SO/20 BB off Montgomery in his career, as he owns the 3rd-lowest lifetime opp. OPS vs. LHB among active ML starters (min. 500 LHB faced) to only Chris Sale (.534) and Clayton Kershaw (.561).

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