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Rangers muscle up to murder Rays, advance to ALDS with 7-1 win

The Rangers have claimed the AL Wild Card series two games to none

Wild Card Series - Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game Two Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Texas Rangers scored a girthy seven runs while the Tampa Bay Rays finally scored one postseason run.

Being mad about where Bruce Bochy inserts Robbie Grossman in his lineup is clearly the key to postseason success. Just let Robbie shoulder all of our burdens. That, or just let the Rangers always play their October games at The Trop where they are now 7-0 all-time in the postseason.

The weird, wild ride that is the 2023 Texas Rangers rolled into Tampa Bay and weirdly and wildly swept them despite appearing at yet another low point just days earlier in Seattle.

You can’t even pretend to guess what the Rangers will do from game to game. You might as well not even try. A day after shutting down the AL’s best home team in their building, Texas came out and accomplished it again to claim the series without it ever really seeming like much of a challenge.

Also, I don’t mean to alarm you but I think Evan Carter might be special.

After reaching in every plate appearance in his postseason debut yesterday, Carter drew a walk in his first PA today before hitting his first career playoff home run, an emphatic, back-breaking two-run dong.

Carter has been everything you might dream about in terms of a debuting prospect, much less one joining so late in a pennant race and now postseason run. By the time the Rays finally retired Carter in this series (something they did only once), they were toast as they saw their 99-win season evaporate at the conclusion of their brief two game stay.

Now on the other side of the Wild Card, with Carter and gang cruising, the Rangers advance to the real playoffs as they will continue their crazy caravan with a stop in Baltimore where they will meet the American League’s top team.

Player of the Game: This is the game Carter made himself a legend. Josh Jung also joined some team history by becoming just the fourth Ranger to collect three or more extra base hits in a postseason game. Corey Seager had two hits and a walk as he continues to be a menace in October.

But just like yesterday, the laser show from the bats was propped up by excellent starting pitching. Today’s starter Nathan Eovaldi saved his vintage May Pitcher of the Month stuff for Game 2 as he tossed 6 23 innings and allowed just one run on five hits, zero walks, and eight strikeouts in 98 pitches.

For as good as Jordan Montgomery was in Game 1, Eovaldi held firm in comparison before tiring out in the 7h in today’s clincher. More importantly though, after scuffling in September upon his return from injury, Eovaldi’s dominance was a return to the kind of performer that Texas desperately needed today and the kind they will need as they advance.

Up Next: The ALDS from Oriole Park at Camden Yards begins on Saturday afternoon where the 101-win American League East champion Orioles can turn potentially to RHP Kyle Bradish, LHP John Means, or possibly RHP Grayson Rodriguez in the opener. The Rangers will likely counter with a fully rested Dane Dunning.