The Texas Rangers had one of the best offenses in all of baseball, and they reminded everyone of such on Wednesday.
The Rangers slugged their way to a 7-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, winning their wild-card playoff series.
Texas blanked the Rays in Game 1 on Tuesday thanks to dominant pitching from Jordan Montgomery, who tossed seven scoreless frames. They say momentum is only as good as your next day’s starter – well, the Rangers had momentum.
Nathan Eovaldi toed the rubber for the Rangers on Wednesday and mowed down the Rays, who hadn’t scored a run in 33.2 postseason innings. He kept the Rays scoreless until the seventh before allowing his lone run on an RBI single to Curtis Mead. In all, he allowed six hits and struck out eight in his 6.2 frames.
Eovaldi had plenty of room to work with, though, thanks to his supportive offense. In the third inning, the Rangers put up a four-spot, thanks to an Adolis Garcia solo homer, an RBI triple by Josh Jung after a missed diving play, and then a two-run shot by Evan Carter. Nathaniel Lowe drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in the fifth, and in the sixth, Marcus Semien and Corey Seager each had an RBI double.
Before the game, Texas received good news, too. After it was previously thought that pitcher Max Scherzer would miss the rest of the season, he was ramped up in a bullpen session at Tropicana Field, so a return may actually be on the horizon.
Two years ago, Texas and the Baltimore Orioles had 102 and 110 losses, respectively. They now face each other in the American League Division Series, beginning this weekend.
The O’s are perhaps the most surprising team of the bunch. They finished above .500 last year, and everyone knew they were on the rise after an abysmal stretch of 115, 108 and 110 losses in each of the previous three full seasons, but it’s hard to find anyone who predicted them to win the AL East and go 101-61.
Baltimore is vying for its first ALCS appearance since 2014 while Texas hasn’t made the final four since 2011.