We’ve spent eight months with these Texas Rangers now and the one thing we’ve learned, if we’ve learned anything at all, is that they simply won’t back down from the challenges facing them.
Injuries, slumps, perhaps history’s worst bullpen, division disappointment, playoff ghosts, nearly 60 years of organizational tragedy? Fuck it, we ball.
No Max Scherzer. No Adolis Garcia. How about Andrew Heaney and Travis Jankowski?
We were sold a bullpen game from both teams but Heaney had other ideas. The lefty that had been banished to the bullpen after Texas acquired arms at the trade deadline popped back into the rotation and didn’t just give the Rangers innings tonight, he made a full start with a line of 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K in 80 pitches.
It helped, of course, that by the end of the 2nd inning, Heaney was working with a five run lead. By the time he took the mound for the bottom of the 3rd, it was 10-0. Jankowski, who took over for Garcia in right field, had two hits in his first two at-bats, including a double that brought in two runs in the 3rd to continue a two-out rally. Next man up.
The Rangers became the first team in World Series history to put together back-to-back innings of five runs or more. Every one of those runs came with two outs. A backbreaking inability to put Texas away for the parade of Arizona relievers.
But why should we expect anything else? Put these Rangers away? No one has figured out how to do it yet.
There can only be three more games in the 2023 season. If the Rangers win any of them, this team that bends but does not break will be our first ever champions.
Player of the Game: Marcus Semien was the guy who needed to step up with El Bombi out. Finally, at long last, after a Sisyphean journey of a postseason, Semien had his moment.
After Josh Jung (who himself went 3-for-4 tonight) scored the first game on a wild pitch, Semien came up to the plate after a Leody Taveras walk and Jankowski single and slapped a ball down the line for a two-RBI triple to put Texas up 3-0. It was a massive hit to take a lot of pressure off for a team that has just lost a 3x Cy Young winner and the heart and soul of the lineup.
In his next at-bat, an inning later, Semien put the capper on a historic couple of innings for Texas with his first home run of the postseason, a three-run shot that put Texas up 10-0.
The Rangers and Semien have been searching for that moment all October. It finally came when they needed it most.
Up Next: The Rangers can win the World Series with a victory tomorrow night. RHP Nathan Eovaldi will make the start for Texas against RHP Zac Gallen for Arizona.
The Wednesday night Game 5 first pitch from Chase Field is scheduled for 7:03 pm CT and will be aired on FOX.