The 2023 Texas Rangers are undefeated in the postseason.
Let’s break that down.
Think about if you heard this sentence at the end of the 2022 season. You would laugh in the face of the speaker. You’d think they had absolutely lost their damn mind. No longer living in reality! Next season? The Rangers? In the postseason? Seems a little crazy.
Maybe just on the surface of the sentence you’d laugh just because the Rangers are in the postseason. And sure that’s fair, they had a 68 win season in 2022 so playoffs didn’t seem like a logical goal.
Ok, now let’s say that sentence is said to you in August.
The Texas Rangers in the postseason? Phew!
After an incredible first half and had a…let’s say rocky second half. ROCKY. Like; you’d breathe a huge sigh of relief that the bottom didn’t actually fall out but you held your breath the entire time knowing it was going to any second.
Even presently it’s kind of insane to hear.
Knowing the injuries. Knowing the rotation and bullpen. Knowing the bats were hit and miss, pun intended, in the last months of the season. Knowing it felt like we were hanging off every pitch and at-bat in that last week of the regular season.
The Rangers are 5-0 in the postseason. Five and ZERO LOSSES. Five straight wins. Five straight POSTSEASON wins. It’s almost hard to fully comprehend that. There’s a sense of pride and giddy being fans of a team like that. It feels like magic.
How can you not be excited for what they will do in the ALCS?
I’ll admit, it feels daunting playing their in-state rivals the Houston Astros, on such a big stage. I think most of that has to do with knowing how toxic a lot of their fan base is on social media and not necessarily worried their team is better than the Rangers.
Because let’s not forget which team spent over 100 days in first place. And the fact that the division came down to the final game, says a lot about both teams, not just the Rangers.
My least favorite phrase in sports is “overcoming adversity” because more often than not it’s just a Bull Durham level cliche but the Rangers have truly done that. Think of all the time lost players to injuries. Five of their SIX all-stars spent time on the injured list in the second half of the season. Jacob deGrom got injured. Max Scherzer was acquired… then injured. Jon Gray went on the IL the last weekend of the season. The bullpen was historically bad. The entire lineup’s bat’s stopped functioning for a month.
The Astros didn’t win the division, the Rangers lost it. That’s to say the season ended in a tie. And before you accuse me of being a petty fan - which I am more than happy to own - it’s actually just math! The defending World Series champs; the unstoppable force… won on a technicality.
Houston really should’ve run away with the division, I went into this in the final weekly recap of the regular season. It’s kind of crazy that they never could grab and hold on to it. Especially being the defending World Series champs. Houston knows, it never should’ve even come close to a tie. Let alone come down to a tie on the last day.
It’s honestly pretty humiliating for Houston if you ask me.
I think some people equate being an underdog to either not being as strong as the other team or just getting lucky. Sports in general is a lot of luck and timing but I definitely don’t think the Rangers aren’t strong. They have been a juggernaut of a team this season and there’s no way they’re going to get steamrolled, I think it’ll be a fun series and fairly evenly matched.
Going into this series, The Astros are the favorites but the Rangers are the underdog. No matter what narrative the national broadcast will try to spin saying otherwise. The reigning champs can’t be the underdog even if the team they’re facing has zero losses because the reigning champs should always be expected to win. The reigning champs will always be the favorites, especially when they’ve been to the ALCS 7 years running.
And who doesn’t love an underdog? Underdogs are fun and spunky and have something more to fight for and prove. But the best thing about underdogs? Sometimes they do the unexpected.
Houston is the reigning champ. That is until someone takes it from them… and the 2023 undefeated-in-the-postseason Texas Rangers might just be the team to do that.