PHOENIX — The Rangers — and especially their fans — know better than to make assumptions about what’s coming. This is the franchise that was one strike away — twice — from its first World Series title in 2011, and that’s a sentence that still sends shivers down the spines of the Texas faithful.
After an 11-7 victory in Game 4 on Tuesday, the Rangers know their 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven World Series, though as far as history is concerned, is no guarantee of glory. In all best-of-seven postseason series, teams holding a 3-1 record have won the series 78 out of 92 times (85%). But, you know, that’s not 100%.
Heading into Wednesday night’s Game 5 at Chase Field, with Texas facing Nathan Eovaldi opposite Arizona ace Zac Gallen, the Rangers are in prime mathematical position to do something they’ve never done before. possible since the Washington Senators moved to Arlington in 1972. But they had to do it against a D-backs team that recovered from a 16-34 midseason funk, entered October as a six seed and rallied from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits against the reigning NL champion Phillies in the National League Championship Series.
Rangers star shortstop and current World Series MVP favorite Corey Seager was on the last team to rally from 3-1 — it was his Los Angeles Dodgers who came back to beat the Braves in the 2020 NLCS en route to a World Series title.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” Seager said. “They scrap, they fight, they scratch, and they never stop.”
The D-backs showed that in Game 4, when they trailed 11-1 entering the bottom of the eighth, then put up six runs in their final two innings to force Texas closer José Leclerc. The D-backs were also able to get away from their high-leverage relief arms thanks to 5 1/3 innings of work from reliever Ryne Nelson.
“Because of him, we are in a place to use our men [in Game 5] and hopefully win a baseball game,” said D-backs manager Torey Lovullo. “Without that, we would be in a bad place. And he made sacrifices. I know he got gassed there at the end, but he sacrificed for the good of his team.
Here’s what to expect for Game 5:
When is the game and how can I watch it?
First pitch is set for 8 pm ET on Wednesday at Chase Field, televised on FOX.
The Fall Classic is available in the US on MLB.TV with authentication by a participating Pay TV provider. Games are available live internationally (except Canada). Full game archives will be available approximately 90 minutes after the game.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Rangers: RHP Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi had his first postseason stumble in Game 1 against the D-backs, allowing five runs in 4 2/3 innings. But that came after the veteran right-hander went 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA in his first four starts this postseason. Eovaldi will look to close out the World Series after coming off wins in the AL Wild Card Series (6 2/3 innings, one run vs. the Rays) and the AL Division Series (seven innings, one run vs. the O’s ).
D-backs: RHP Zac Gallen
Gallen will make his second World Series start after getting the nod in Game 1. Gallen hasn’t had one of his better outings since, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks in five innings. He also didn’t have a great NLCS, giving up nine runs in 11 innings. That said, Gallen has been the ace of the staff all year and Arizona has confidence in him any time he takes the ball.
What are the planned starting lines?
Rangers: Without Adolis García, the Rangers will roll with Travis Jankowski or Robbie Grossman in right field. Jankowski got his first crack at Game 4 and certainly made the most of it, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.
D-back: Emmanuel Rivera started at third base in Game 4, but Evan Longoria should be back there for Game 5. Lovullo has remained relatively consistent in his lineup throughout the postseason, and there’s little he can do to shake it up at this point. .
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Rangers: Despite holding a 10-run lead in the eighth inning, Texas ultimately had to use closer Leclerc to close out Game 4 after a late Arizona rally. Although Leclerc only faced two batters and threw only 10 pitches, he also threw 16 pitches in one inning of work in Monday’s Game 3 victory. Leclerc, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021, has missed three consecutive days since the procedure. The last time he did it was Sept. 10-12, 2019.
D-back: Nelson’s yeoman effort out of the bullpen in Game 4 helped Arizona’s bullpen situation heading into Game 5. All of the D-backs high-leverage relievers were rested and ready to go. Kevin Ginkel’s well-proven formula of pairing closer Paul Sewald with right-hander Ryan Thompson in leverage situations seems like a sure thing for the D-backs.
Rangers: Seager has homered four times in the last five games. He had three home runs and six RBIs in the first four games of the World Series. He hit .307 with 12 extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and 14 walks this postseason. The only other player in MLB history with at least 12 extra-base hits, 12 RBIs and 12 walks in a postseason is Albert Pujols (2011).
D-back: Marte was one of the few bright spots for Arizona’s offense in Game 4 as he continues his torrid postseason. Marte hit 20 consecutive games in the postseason, a Major League record. Walker has started hitting the ball harder in recent games, and he picked up three hits in Game 4.