The Rangers disposed of the Tampa Bay Rays in the BO3 Wild Card round. The Rays did not show up in the first game. They played with the intensity of a TXDOT worker, booting the ball around cartoonishly. It is rare to see a team look so utterly listless in a playoff game. The Rays players did not look like they were pressing. They looked listless. Jordan Montgomery shut them out through 7. He has been brilliant down the stretch for the Rangers.
The bullpen even managed to hold the shutout. Aroldis Chapman and Jose Leclerc were perfect in the final two innings. Tampa had four errors.
Nathan Eovaldi started for the Rangers in Game 2. He lived up to his billing as a playoff warrior. He posted 6.2 IP before running out of gas. Josh Sborz came in with traffic on the bases and had his elite stuff. He got out of the inning and threw a great 8th too. Jose Lerlerc closed the win at the Trop. Josh Jung had a triple and two doubles. Evan Carter had a two-run homer. Adolis Garcia had a solo shot. Win 7-1.
ALDS Preview: The Rangers will play the top seeded AL team, the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s play solid defense, hit for contact, and have solid pitching. The Rangers will need to hammer the O’s on offense to have any chance. This series will favor the Orioles if it is close late. The Rangers bullpen is awful. The Rangers rotation is depleted. If the Rangers want to win, they will need to bludgeon the O’s and turn the games into high scoring affairs.
The Rangers have the ability to win if their starting pitchers go deep into games. They need to put up a plethora of runs to have a chance. The frustrating thing about this Rangers team is the bullpen is so historically awful their chances to win a pennant are low. Despite the killer offense and great starters, the Rangers efforts to win a pennant will be defined by the likes of Chris Stratton and Josh Sborz. This series is very abnormal from a preview perspective. The Rangers have a great rotation, half of which is healthy. They are missing two legendary aces. The O’s rotation is solid, but not spectacular. The same is true of their lineup. They use teamwork, good baserunning, and speed to create runs consistently. The Rangers offense led the AL in runs. Bizarrely, the Rangers bullpen is such a joke that the ineptitude actually eclipses the edges the Rangers have in starting pitching and lineup. The Rangers will need to pour it on to beat the 101-win Orioles.
Prediction: Rangers cannot overcome bullpen issues and starting pitching injuries and fall 3-2.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
10/7 – @Orioles – 12:00 p.m.
10/8 – @Orioles – 3:07 p.m.
10/10 – vs Orioles – 7:03 p.m.
10/11 – vs Orioles – 6:07 p.m.
10/13 – @Orioles – 7:03 p.m.