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World Series Preview #2 : Diamondbacks vs Rangers

Chase Field in Phoenix
Chase Field in Phoenix
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Welcome home Diamondbacks!

You showed that you can fight the Rangers, toe-to-toe, in their home field. The series is tied with one win each. Your fans, including me, are in Chase Field cheering for you. Keep fighting and keep your heads in the game.

“This is a young, fun, energetic team that plays good baseball.” — Derek Jeter, pregame on 27 October. Worth reading is his book, which was reviewed here.

George Bush Threw Out The First Pitch.

In 2001, President George Bush threw out the first pitch for game 3. The Diamondbacks won the series in 7 games.

In 2023, Former President George Bush threw out the first pitch for game 1. Does that mean that the Diamondbacks will again win the series in 7 games?

President George Bush played two horseshoe matches with George Plimpton. Afterwards, Plimpton wrote a book about the X-factor. The X-factor could decide which team wins the World Series. For details see this AZ Snake Pit article.

“A connected team is a very dangerous team.” — Torey Lovullo

Noteworthy Achievements.

Reaching the World Series for the first time since 2001 is huge. In March, one writer saw the possibility: Will the Diamondbacks Outshine An Optimistic Projection?

Noteworthy achievements follow (data from, Baseball Reference and Baseball Savant).

Hitting Streak. In game one of the series, Ketel Marte’s postseason 16 game hitting streak was extended to 17. In the eighth inning of game two, with bases loaded, Marte extended his streak to 18 games with a dramatic 2-RBI hit. His hitting streak is the longest ever in the postseason.

Two Excellent Bullpens.

  • The Diamondbacks’ bullpen had 31 consecutive outs without any runs scored prior to the World Series. That streak was extended to 41 consecutive outs before a home run in the 9th inning of game one.
  • The Rangers’ bullpen had 3 consecutive outs without any runs scored prior to the World Series. In game two that streak ended at 24 consecutive outs.

Closers Fiercely Battled in Game One.

  • In the postseason (prior to the World Series), Paul Sewald was awesome (8 IP, 0 ER, 3 hits, 6 saves, SO9=12.38, BB9=1.13). In game one of the World Series he walked the bottom-of-the-order batter before Corey Seager hit a 2-run homer to tie the game. Perhaps it was a team loss because Paul Sewald would have faced easier batters if in the eigth inning Ginkel had not allowed a single and a walk.
  • In the postseason, Jose Leclerc earned 3 saves in 4 opportunities. In game one of this series, his 6 outs with zero runs earned him a win instead of a save.

A surprise sacrifice bunt. In game two, Evan Longoria’s sacrific bunt epitomized the Diamondback’s small-ball approach to winning games. It was Longoria’s second sacrifice bunt in 8400 plate appearances (regular season and postseason). Not withstanding that kind of batting, the Diamondbacks’ five stolen bases in this World Series are a strength.

Stolen Base Streak. The Diamondbacks stole four bases in each of three consecutive postseason games (including game one of the World Series). Christian Walker, whose 5 stolen bases in this postseason leads the Diamondbacks, stole a base in each of the three games.

Pitching Matchups.

Monday, 5:03 PM Arizona Time, Max Scherzer vs Brandon Pfaadt.

Max Scherzer did not pitch between 12 September and the ALCS because he strained a shoulder muscle. In the ALCS he started two games. His results were not good (5 earned runs in 4 innings, followed by 2 earned runs in 2 innings.

Max Scherzer cut the thumb of his pitching hand. His cut could be a factor in this game.

“It’s just a cut. I can wear a bandage, throw a bullpen on it. The pain of it, I can pitch through that. That’s not the problem. It’s just it would get bloody.” — Max Scherzer

In spring training, Brandon Pfaadt showed poise and maturity. Nevertheless, it wasn’t until the last month that his pitching shined brightly. After a not great start against the Brewers (3 earned runs in 2.2 innings), he started three games with incredibly bright results (2 earned runs in 14 innings pitched). He is in discussions of who could be postseason MVP, although my vote will likely be for a team MVP.

Although it feels strange to write, in this game Brandon Pfaadt gives the Diamondbacks an advantage over Max Scherzer.

Tuesday, 5:03 PM Arizona Time, likely bullpen game.

The bullpen pitchers will battle fiercely to contain some excellent batters. My view is that the Diamondbacks bullpen has more depth. This game is a slight edge for the Diamondbacks.

Wednesday, 5:03 PM Arizona Time, Nathan Eovaldi vs Zac Gallen.

In game one of the series, Zac Gallen escaped a bases loaded third inning with only one run and completed 5 innings with a very respectable 3 earned runs. My view is that this game was his best of the postseason, against some great batters. He is reaching his star potential.

In game one of this series, Eovoldi allowed 5 earned runs in 4.2 innings. Perhaps that game was his worst of the postseason. I look forward to the Diamondbacks’ batters facing him again.

This game is a slight edge for the Diamondbacks.