2023 World Series Preview

Diamondbacks meet Rangers in improbable 2023 Fall Classic matchup

Corbin Carroll tracked down a fly ball in right field to record the final out of the 2023 National League Championship Series. The catch propelled the Diamondbacks into their first World Series appearance since 2001, and finalized a very improbable World Series matchup with the Rangers. 

The Texas Rangers (90-72, 2nd AL West) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (84-76, 2nd NL West) combine for the fewest total wins in the World Series ever. The Rangers won their first seven games of the playoffs, sweeping both the Rays and Orioles in dominant fashion. They then took down the Astros in a dramatic seven game series. The Diamondbacks upset the Brewers in the wild card series and beat the Dodgers in a shocking sweep before beating the Phillies in seven games. They became the second sixth seed in two years to make the World Series from the National League. The playoffs were expanded before last year, meaning the 2023 Diamondbacks and 2022 Phillies would not have made the playoffs in the previous playoff structure.

The Rangers are led by major free agent signings such as Corey Seager, who slugged his way to an appearance on the AL MVP ballot, and Marcus Semien, whose iron-man mentality has made him a staple in the Rangers infield. They ride an extraordinary hot streak with a sizzling offense into the Fall Classic.

The Diamondbacks are led by an array of dominant rookies. Corbin Carroll figures to finish as National League Rookie of the Year, and the breakout of starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt led him to be an everyday part of their pitching staff. But maybe the most important piece for the Snakes is NLCS MVP Ketel Marte, who led the D-Backs outfield all year to the tune of a .276 batting average and 25 home runs. 

One of the biggest question marks heading into the World Series is the back end of the Rangers pitching rotation. Nathan Eovaldi, who has posted a 2.42 earned run average (ERA) throughout the playoffs, and Jordan Montgomery, who has a 2.16 ERA, have been dominant all season and throughout the playoffs. However, Max Scherzer, Jon Gray, and Andrew Heaney have all been shaky coming off of injuries. The bullpen was one of the MLB’s worst all season, as they blew more saves than they converted, but the postseason emergence of Josh Sborz and Jose Leclerc gives them a few dominant options to close games.

The Diamondbacks ace has had a bumpy road for most of the season. Zac Gallen went from being a Cy Young candidate in the first half of the season to having a 3.47 ERA across the regular season and a 5.24 postseason ERA. His regression could end up hurting the Diamondbacks in game one on Friday, Oct. 27th. However, in response to these starting pitcher struggles, the Rattlers’ bullpen has had to step up, which they have done in a big way. Paul Sewald has been lights out as a closer, and his low-velocity, high spin fastball has been nearly unhittable all season. Joe Mantiply has also played his role to perfection as a setup reliever, nabbing two wins so far in the playoffs. 

The Rangers boast one of the most complete rosters both at the dish and in the field, as they have the best team fielding percentage at .990, and the second best team batting average at .263. They employ a star-studded infield, with Nathaniel Lowe manning first base, Semien at second, Seager at shortstop and Josh Jung occupying third base. Their outfield isn’t lacking in firepower either, as Adolis Garcia, Evan Carter, and Leody Taveras are all two-way weapons.

Garcia had an ALCS for the ages, finishing with a record-setting 15 RBI and five homers in the series. There was question as to whether he would even be able to finish the last two games after his role in a benches-clearing brawl with the Astros in game 5, but his response was the saving grace for the Rangers, as they went on to dominate the final two games of the series. 

The Diamondbacks have a very dangerous lineup that has hit .247 across the playoffs, but their most dangerous weapon is their overall depth. They have been starting a reliever, making game four a likely bullpen game: no starting pitcher is utilized, and the game is taken inning by inning with a myriad of relievers.

The 2023 Fall Classic is unexpected, but the many rising stars should make for a lot of must-watch baseball. The many elite talents and interesting story lines present a very unpredictable series. With that being said, here are my predictions:

Game 1, Oct. 27

Probable Pitchers: Eovaldi vs. Gallen

Prediction: Rangers win 7-4

I believe that Gallen’ struggles will continue and he will be chased out of the game early, leaving the bullpen to recover and give them a chance. However, with Eovaldi on the bump, I think the D-Backs will get a few runs later in the game, but it will be too little too late. 

Game 2, Oct. 28

Probable Pitchers: Montgomery vs. Kelly

Prediction: Rangers win 4-1

I predict Jordan Montgomery to shut down the Diamondbacks offense, meaning the Rangers will only need a little bit of run support, which I believe they can do. 


Game 3, Oct. 30 

Probable Pitchers: Scherzer vs. Pfaadt

Prediction: Diamondbacks win 5-2

I think that the Diamondbacks might jump on Scherzer around the third inning, leaving Rangers’ manager Bruce Bochy to use a lot of relievers. I also think Brandon Pfaadt will go around five or six innings and only allow a few runs. 


Game 4, Oct. 31

Probable Pitchers: TBD

Prediction: Rangers win 4-1

I think the Rangers will take a commanding 3-1 series lead in game four. In a battle of the bullpens, I think that whoever the Rangers choose to start will give them a few strong innings, thus propelling them to a win


Game 5, Nov. 1

Probable Pitchers: Eovaldi vs Gallen

Prediction: Diamondbacks win 3-1

In a pitchers duel, I think that Zac Gallen bounces back and has a game 5 masterclass. I think Carroll and Marte will also wake up.  


Game 6, Nov. 3

Probable Pitchers: Montgomery vs. Kelly

Prediction: Rangers win 2-0

I predict the Rangers to take the series in a low-scoring game 6 on November 3rd. This win gives them a historic championship. 

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