The Rangers might want to move hotel rooms. Max Scherzer left his start tonight after three innings with a tight back. Josh Sborz seemed to grab at his hip during a scoreless appearance in the 7th. Adolis Garcia exited the game with what looked like an oblique injury on a swing in the 8th.
With the Rangers dropping like flies, they required heroics from their half a billion dollar middle infield. Texas had been waiting on something with the bat from Marcus Semien all October. He finally delivered in the top of the 3rd with a two-out, RBI single to drive in Nathaniel Lowe.
One pitch later, it was 3-0 because Corey Seager exists and the World Series is his playground.
But then there was that whole Scherzer thing. He left after trying to warm up in the bottom of the 4th. That called on Jon Gray who worked through an heroic three innings of scoreless ball.
After Sborz gutted out the 7th while dealing with his own ailment, it was time for the Aroldis Chapman dice roll in the 8th. It appeared as though Chapman was rolling snake eyes tonight as he allowed Arizona’s first run to the bottom of their lineup before striking out Corbin Carroll. Then he hit a nat 20 for a nifty double play started by Corey Seager that felt like an echo of some of the wizardy Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler pulled off in the 2011 World Series.
Then came Jose Leclerc for the 9th. A spotless frame meant Texas has reclaimed the lead in this series. It wasn’t the flashy kind of win that the Rangers had been enjoying this postseason — the offense still seems out of sorts and the pitching was cobbled together —but it was a critical one, even if it seems to have come at a cost.
It’s hard really to have a lot of bad news coming off a World Series victory but the Rangers are now likely facing some questions regarding their No. 3 starter, most effective high-leverage reliever, and you know, perhaps the hottest hitter in the history of October.
It’s never easy but they only need two more.
Player of the Game: While Seager is aiming for a second World Series MVP after his laser beam home run, it was Gray that saved Texas’ bacon tonight. With three scoreless innings that came in virtually an emergency situation, after pitching just twice, and just 2 2⁄3 innings, since he was injured at the end of September.
Up Next: Game 4 of the World Series will see a pitcher to be named on each side with Texas aiming to take a commanding 3-1 lead. It’s going to be a bullpen game for both teams, regardless. There was talk of Gray starting for Texas but that bullet was used tonight.
Game 4’s first pitch from Chase Field is scheduled for 7:03 pm CT and will be aired once again on FOX.