Texas Rangers win World Series


For the first time in franchise history, the Texas Rangers are World Series champions. The Rangers clinched their first ever title with a thrilling 5-0 win (box score) over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 of the 2023 World Series on Wednesday night. Texas went an astonishing 11-0 on the road this postseason. It is the longest road winning streak in franchise history, regular season or postseason.

Righty Josh Sborz, who had a 5.50 ERA during the regular season and 0.75 ERA during the postseason, recorded the 27th and final out with a called strike three against Ketel Marte.

D-backs ace Zac Gallen took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Game 5 -- he was terrific -- but, ultimately, the Rangers found a way to scratch out a run against Gallen while Arizona stranded runner after runner against Nathan Eovaldi. Arizona left nine men on base through five innings and went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. The opportunities were there. The D-backs just couldn't cash in. Texas eventually blew the game open with a four-run ninth inning and Marcus Semien's two-run home run served as an exclamation point.

With the win, Rangers skipper Bruce Bochy became the sixth manager to win four World Series championships, joining Casey Stengel (seven), Joe McCarthy (seven), Connie Mack (five), Walter Alston (four), and Joe Torre (four). Those five men are all in the Hall of Fame. Bochy will one day join them in Cooperstown. His teams have won four of the last 14 World Series.

Here now are our takeaways from Game 5 of the 2023 World Series.

The third time through the order got Gallen

The D-backs badly needed ace Zac Gallen to pitch, well, ace-like, and he was terrific through six innings in Game 5. Gallen retired the first 14 batters he faced -- he's the first pitcher to take a perfect game into the fifth inning of a World Series start since Greg Maddux in 1995 -- and he did not allow a hit through six innings. He was dominant and also efficient. Only 72 pitches through six.

Alas and alack, pitchers are dealing until suddenly they aren't, and the Rangers broke through once the lineup turned over a third time. No. 2 hitter and World Series MVP Corey Seager broke up the no-hitter with a squibbled single through the vacant left side to start the seventh. No. 3 hitter Evan Carter doubled to right, then No. 4 hitter Mitch Garver singled back up the middle to score the game's first run.

After allowing zero hits and one walk to 18 batters the first two times through the lineup, Gallen faced only five hitters the third time through and three had base hits. The third time through the order penalty is no fun -- there are few things in this sport less enjoyable than watching an effective starter come out of a game -- but that doesn't mean it isn't real. 

The end result is unfortunate but Gallen gave the D-backs a chance and then some in Game 5, and he did it by changing up the scouting report. He threw 25 curveballs among his 83 pitchers, or 30%. He had not thrown 30% curveballs in a start since Aug. 6 and he did it only five times all year. Through six innings, all those extra curves kept the Rangers off-balance.

The D-backs had Eovaldi on the ropes

But could never deliver the knockout blow. Or even push across a run. Arizona put the leadoff man on base in each of the first three innings of Game 5 and had a baserunner in each of the first five innings, but they mustered zero runs thanks to an 0 for 9 showing with runners in scoring position against Nathan Eovaldi. 

Corbin Carroll singled and Ketel Marte walked to open that third inning, then No. 3 hitter Gabriel Moreno bunted (!) the runners up. He became the first No. 3 hitter to lay down a sac bunt in the World Series since Kirby Puckett in 1991. Eovaldi followed with a strikeout and a ground out, however, and Arizona did not score in the inning.

It was not until the sixth inning, his final inning, that Eovaldi recorded a 1-2-3 frame. He was the anti-Gallen. Gallen cruised through his six innings with basically zero high-stress pitches. Eovaldi was in trouble all night -- nine baserunners in his six innings -- and did a lot of bending, but zero breaking. Gallen and Eovaldi had two very different starts, each impressive in their own way.

That fifth inning was the last time the D-backs would have a runner in scoring position this season. Three Rangers pitchers -- Eovaldi, Aroldis Chapman, Josh Sborz -- held Arizona to one walk and one single in the final four innings. The D-backs had plenty of chances against Eovaldi and just couldn't get The Big Hit. The game was there for the taking early on.

The Rangers broke it open late

Game 5 was 0-0 through six innings and 1-0 until the top of the ninth, when the Rangers put the game to bed with four insurance runs. Alek Thomas made a back-breaking error on Jonah Heim's RBI single, allowing it to get under his glove so Nathaniel Lowe could chug all the way home from first base. Marcus Semien provided the exclamation point with a two-run homer.

Texas did not have a hit through six innings against Gallen and still managed to score five runs on nine hits in Game 5. They are the first team ever to win a World Series game after being no-hit through six innings. Their lineup is just so good and so deep, and so diverse. Gallen was at this best in Game 5 and the Rangers still won by five runs. Remarkable.

Smith made history

Veteran lefty Will Smith is 1 of 1. He is the first player in the history of the four major North American sports leagues to win three championships in three years with three different teams. Smith won World Series titles with the 2021 Atlanta Braves, 2022 Houston Astros, and now the 2023 Rangers. Granted, Smith did not pitch particularly well in the World Series (two runs in 1 1/3 innings), but he was on the roster all season and was the closer much of the first half. A good luck charm, he is.

The Rangers are World Series champs

How cool is that? This franchise started as the Washington Senators in 1961 before moving to Texas and becoming the Rangers in 1972, and it was not until this year, the franchise's 63rd season, that they won a championship. Now that the Rangers have a title, the Brewers, Mariners, Padres, Rays, and Rockies are the five remaining franchises without a World Series title. The D-backs can be proud of their season -- this team lost 110 games as recently as 2021 -- but there's no doubt about it, this loss hurts.

Dan Butcher

Dan Butcher (aka HP Pundit) is not a Democrat or Republican. He is a free thinking independent bringing you news and commentary with a dose of much needed common sense.

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