The Texas Rangers are World Series champions. The final score line of 4-1 was a convincing win for Texas, but that almost diminishes the elegant drama of this October. From the immortal highlight moments to the tense pitching matchups, the World Series was a perfect finish to the season.
Three Notes From the World Series
The Stars Performed
Even as the series finished with a 4-1 win for Texas, it felt like it was on a knife’s edge until the very end. The Arizona Diamondbacks entered the 9th inning of the first game with a 5-3 lead… only for Series MVP Corey Seager to hit one of the most significant home runs of his career.
Adolis García finished off the game with a walk-off homer in extra innings. Not only did the Rangers’ stars perform, but they did it in the most memorable moments. Marcus Semien broke out of his postseason slump with some massive games in the final few days, including a decisive two-run home run to clinch Game 4. In the World Series, Semien and Seager combined to hit 14 RBIs from the top of the Rangers’ batting order.
Even in a disappointing offense, the Diamondbacks received contributions from the most prominent names in their lineup. Ketel Marte broke the postseason hitting streak record. Corbin Carroll and Marte each recorded four RBIs despite hitting at the top of the order. The Diamondbacks put plenty of pressure on the Rangers but were unable to string together hits in important moments to push the series to a tighter score line. Carroll’s performance was not at the same level as his regular season production, but it was thrilling to see the phenom receive national attention in his rookie season.
Pitching to Remember
It always makes for great highlights when a hitter mashes a clutch home run, but the pitching in this series should be remembered for a long, long time. Nathan Eovaldi struggled in his first appearance before pulling off one of the most mesmerizing, dangerous starts possible in a postseason clincher. Despite allowing opportunity after opportunity to the Diamondbacks, he shut down their lineup long enough for his own offense to break out.
On the other side, Zac Gallen matched him every step of the way, albeit in a wildly different fashion. Gallen, like Eovaldi, struggled in his first game of this World Series. But the young ace bounced back with a gem that utterly disrupted the Rangers’ bats. Because the Arizona offense failed to put any runs on the board, Gallen was responsible for the loss in Game 5, but he pitched 6 1/3 innings of excellent baseball that gave his team every chance to win. He has been one of the best pitchers in the sport over the past two years and he finally had his marquee moment in the spotlight.
Brandon Pfaadt might have had the most resounding performance in altering fans’ perceptions. The rookie struggled through much of the regular season, but with several adjustments, kept improving throughout the year. Perhaps the postseason was a glimmer of what’s to come for Arizona. He allowed a game-changing home run to Seager in a game that eventually finished 3-1. Again, credit to both players. Seager was incredible. Pfaadt kept his team in the game. But one mistake can be one too many on this stage.
More to Come
The conversation around these teams is far from over. The Rangers have the foundations of a potential powerhouse after claiming their first World Series. Not only did this postseason showcase the greatness of players like Seager, but they saw rookie Evan Carter create a name for himself after playing almost 100 games in Double-A(!) this season.
The Rangers have a long road to repeat next year, though. Even their own division might be a challenge if the Houston Astros perform well again and the Seattle Mariners push to reach that level of dominance. Will the Rangers look to add even more pitching? We saw players like Andrew Heaney, Dane Dunning, and Martín Pérez all utilized in relief roles this postseason since they lacked the dominant skillset and arsenal to control an entire game. Jordan Montgomery and Pérez are both free agents, along with multiple relievers. Will Max Scherzer be a reliable option again?
The Diamondbacks have just as much reason for optimism. Their future is in good hands with players like Carroll, Gallen, and Gabriel Moreno to build around. Highly rated prospect Jordan Lawlar will see more playing time next year. Young pitchers like Pfaadt and Slade Cecconi will have more time to improve their craft. Alek Thomas and Geraldo Perdomo are both under 25 years old. The chance for Arizona to fight for another Championship with this roster is easy to see.
The Diamondbacks will have to adapt to some alterations in their lineup production, though. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Tommy Pham are both set to be free agents. Gurriel alone provided 24 home runs. It’s always fascinating to see a young team like this and how the front office pursues improvement. The desert might be seeing playoff baseball for the foreseeable future.
The Rangers stole Game 1 with some clutch hits from their biggest stars. Another finished 3-1 and the World Series clincher was as intense as it gets until Semien’s breakthrough home run. This season finishes with the Texas Rangers celebrating a well-deserved championship. Both teams will be back in the fight for a championship next year. Each moment and storyline left us with a World Series to remember.