After we got an absolute instant-classic in game one of the World Series, the Texas Rangers will host the Arizona Diamondbacks once again for game two on Saturday night. Let’s take a look at the odds for the next installment of what figures to be a phenomenal series, where my prediction is another Rangers win before heading on the road.
Diamondbacks Vs. Rangers Prediction
The Rangers started strong in game one, and they finished strong too- but the portion of the game that came in between almost sunk them. The Texas lineup immediately jumped on Arizona ace Zac Gallen for a pair of first inning runs, but Nathan Eovaldi let the Diamondbacks back into the game with five runs across the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Of course, the Rangers had a couple more shots to fire- after the Arizona bullpen worked out of a few tight situations where Texas had chances to get back into the game, the dam finally broke in the bottom of the ninth as Corey Seager tied the game up with a dramatic two-run homer. After both teams escaped the 10th inning, Adolis Garcia smacked an electrifying opposite field home run to end things in the bottom of the 11th.
Garcia’s postseason has been the stuff of legends. He reached base five times in his World Series debut, and in the process, extended his playoff home run streak to five games, and set the record for most RBI in a single postseason- with anywhere from three to six games left. With two more homers, Garcia can tie fellow Cuban defector Randy Arozarena for the most ever in a postseason, and I wouldn’t put it past him to pull off the feat.
The Diamondbacks have a historic bat of their own in the lineup; Ketel Marte has recorded a hit in every game of this postseason, and he did the same in his previous playoff appearance back in 2017, giving him a record-tying 17-game postseason hitting streak. He hit .387 in the NLCS against the Phillies, earning MVP honors for that series, and recorded a pair of important RBIs in game one of this World Series.
After both starters had their struggles in game one, the ball will once again be in the hands of two talented hurlers in game two, both of whom will look to have a stronger performance than their predecessors. For Arizona, it’s Team USA’s Merrill Kelly, who struggled in his first start of the NLCS against Philly but redeemed himself with a vital performance in a game six win.
He’ll be squaring off against Jordan Montgomery, who has had an excellent postseason himself. In three performances against Houston, two starts and a rare relief outing in game seven, Montgomery tossed an ERA of 1.29, as he allowed just one homer in 14 innings of work and limited Astros bats to a .557 OPS.
After a game one win that surely injected life into the squad, we’ll back the Rangers to finish the job at home and go to Arizona with a 2-0 record, well on the way to potentially winning their first-ever World Championship. No MLB franchise that has existed longer than Texas is ringless, so a title has been a long time coming and would be well deserved for both this fanbase, and a team that has shown no quit.
Diamondbacks Vs. Rangers Prediction: Rangers ML (-150)
Diamondbacks Vs. Rangers Odds
The Rangers are -150 favorites at home, compared to +125 for the Diamondbacks, while the run total is set at 9 with +100 odds for the over and -120 for the under.
Diamondbacks Vs. Rangers Key Matchups
Merrill Kelly vs. On-Base Threats
Kelly’s traditional stats this year were pretty strong, but when we dig into his statcast, he ranked in the 30th percentile for hard hit rate and the 34th for walk rate, so he’s fairly susceptible to batters who simply get on base. He’ll be squaring off with a lineup that was third in the majors with a .337 OBP in the regular season, so there will be plenty of dangerous bats.
One of those is of course Garcia, who has earned a .400 OBP this postseason, but September call-up Evan Carter has continued his great play with a figure of .436. Not to be outdone, the MVP-caliber bat Corey Seager has walked a ridiculous 14 times this postseason en route to a .484 OBP after earning a mark of .390 in the regular season. Catcher Mitch Garver has been quite consistent, getting on base at a .372 clip in the playoffs, inches away from his regular season line of .370. The depth of this lineup and its ability to exploit Kelly’s weakness is a major reason I have the home team winning in my Diamondbacks vs. Rangers prediction.
Jordan Montgomery vs. Righty-Heavy Lineup
Montgomery doesn’t display much of a platoon split, but that’s due to the fact that he’s historically so tough on lefties that teams routinely give their lefty bats a day off rather than facing him, so the sample size isn’t tremendous. The Diamondbacks only have one key lefty, but it’s a big one; leadoff man and breakout rookie star Corbin Carroll, who hits .721 against southpaws, not abysmal but a serious step down from his .922 mark against righties.
Ketel Marte is next up in the lineup and he’s a switch-hitter, his overall numbers are similar against lefties and righties, but he does hit more home runs against right-handed pitching. Perhaps the biggest threat to Montgomery is power hitting first baseman Christian Walker, who crushes left-handed pitching. He’s earned a .922 OPS against southpaws, and smacked 13 of his 33 home runs (39.4%) despite facing them in just under a quarter of his plate appearances, so the veteran Lefty will have to be careful with his at bats.
Also a good spot here to drop in an image or tweet to back any sort of analysis here.
Diamondbacks Vs. Rangers Starting Lineups
Diamondbacks Starting Lineup
RF Corbin Carroll L
2B Ketel Marte S
C Gabriel Moreno R
1B Christian Walker R
DH Tommy Pham R
LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. R
CF Alek Thomas L
3B Evan Longoria R
SS Geraldo Perdomo S
Rangers Starting Lineup
2B Marcus Semien R
SS Corey Seager L
LF Evan Carter L
RF Adolis García R
DH Mitch Garver R
C Jonah Heim S
1B Nathaniel Lowe L
3B Josh Jung R
CF Leody Taveras R