Texas Rangers set for World Series rematch against Diamondbacks

The Texas Rangers ended their long losing streak just in time for a Fall Classic reunion with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

arlington, Texas — Everybody loves an underdog story. It’s a great time when a team no one expects makes it to the final round and wins it all. It supports the idea that any team can overcome the odds and achieve glory. 

What might not look great, though, is when a couple of underdogs make it all the way and then underperform the next year. That’s not a story anyone would keep reading. 

Arizona and Texas both made the playoffs as Wild Card teams in 2023, made it to the World Series after thrilling postseason runs, before the Rangers, of course, took the Fall Classic in five games. 

Good morning from the 2023 World Series Champs! pic.twitter.com/YxEQEOjZOd

— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) November 2, 2023

This year, both clubs sit under .500 and are struggling with inconsistency while suffering the indignity of things like losing to last place teams. 

Regardless, this is a World Series rematch – the first for these teams since last October – so a lot will be made of this short, two-game set that serves as a quick break in the middle of two road trips for the Rangers.

Arizona Diamondbacks (25-28, 4th Place NL West, 7.0 GB) @ Texas Rangers (25-29, 2nd Place AL West, 3.5 GB)

Previously, for Arizona…

The Diamondbacks, similar to the Rangers, recently had a tough time against a last place team. They finished a weekend series with the 19-36 Miami Marlins, losing two of three in what has become an overarching theme of the season. There have been a few good spots, interjected with several bad moments. 

Arizona and Texas both are experiencing some rough patches as far as their offense goes, both having issues with linking things together to score consistently. 

The Diamondbacks have been all or nothing, with very little in between. Over the weekend, they had a very low-scoring series, getting shut out in the opener and then mustering only four runs over the next two games against the last-place Marlins.

Thus far this season, the Snakes have scored double-digit runs five times, and beyond that, they’ve scored more than seven runs just once. 

They’re missing key components in Geraldo Perdomo and Alek Thomas, as they’re out with injuries, but other contributors, not injured – like Corbin Carroll and Eugenio Suarez – have been slow to get going. 

Individually, Arizona is receiving good performances, with Ketel Marte and Christian Walker among them, but again, like the Rangers, the cohesiveness isn’t there.

Arizona is struggling with consistent pitching from their starters as well. Ace Zac Gallen hasn’t been able to take over starts as often as he’s been accustomed to, having made it into the seventh inning in a start for the first time this season after doing so regularly while finishing third in the Cy Young voting in 2023.

The Diamondbacks also picked up former Rangers’ playoff hero Jordan Montgomery late in the offseason. He has not looked like the pitcher that shouldered the Rangers down the stretch and throughout the postseason, as he’s sporting a 4.69 ERA in seven starts in 2024.

Texas won’t see either of Arizona’s top starters in this brief series, for what it’s worth.

Like the Rangers, the Diamondbacks are finding out the hard way that offensive inconsistencies and unremarkable pitching isn’t nearly enough to get you to the top of the division; for the Rangers, they’re in a division that has slumped across the board so they’ve been able to stay within spitting distance of first place Seattle, but the Diamondbacks are in the NL West where the Los Angeles Dodgers won’t wait around for a team to figure things out. 

After an October to remember, Arizona finds themselves one step out of the basement.

What to watch for

Game 55, 7:05 PM CT - RHP Brandon Pfaadt (2-3, 4.05 ERA) vs. TBD

Game 56, 1:35 PM CT - RHP Ryne Nelson (3-3, 6.03 ERA) vs. TBD

With nagging injuries to most everyone in the rotation to go along with an entire rotation’s worth of starters already on the injured list, Texas doesn’t have their two starters lined up for the quick set. By turn, it should be Dane Dunning and Andrew Heaney, but with the two days off bookending this series, along with the multitudinous injuries to the pitching staff, additional movement could be required. 

If Dunning were to make the start, it would be his second since coming off the IL from a rotator cuff strain. In his first start, at Philadelphia, Dunning took 74 pitches to make it through just 3 ⅓ innings of laborious work. He had not been in a rehab game and was operating on a stricter limit. Dunning struggled and ultimately gave up five runs, however, the Texas defense (including himself) did him no favors that game and only 3 were earned. 

Heaney is still looking for his first win of the season and some of his recent effectiveness may be starting to wear off. 

After five consecutive starts of at least five innings, Heaney’s last two outings have seen him unable to finish the fourth inning. Heaney also pitched against Philadelphia, and like Dunning, he gave up three earned runs (four total) in 3 ⅓ innings, taking 82 pitches to get those ten outs.

Last fall, during the World Series, both Dunning and Heaney functioned as relievers, although Heaney did make one start in Game 4 in what was supposed to be a bullpen game. Instead, as Texas took a commanding 3-1 series lead, Heaney stepped up for five innings, allowing just one Diamondback to cross the plate. Dunning, in 2.1 innings of relief spanning three outings, allowed no runs and three hits. 

Andrew Heaney with a chance to bring the Rangers within 1 game of glory:

— 5.0 IP
— 4 Hits
— 1 Earned Run
— 3 Ks 2 BB
— 80 pitches (47 Strikes)

Got HeanDAWG tonight…#GoAndTakeIt pic.twitter.com/HwFh4aRefU

— Rangers Muse (@MuseRangers) November 1, 2023

Arizona will counter with righties Brandon Pfaadt and Ryne Nelson. 

Pfaadt was viewed as the next big thing and had been having a decent stretch run into the playoffs last season. 

This year, his performance has mirrored the team, running hot and cold, but he does have three quality starts this month. That includes last time out against the Dodgers, an outing in which Pfaadt picked up the win, going six innings and giving up just two earned runs. 

Nelson’s 2024 has been far more tumultuous. 

In four starts in May, he’s allowed 34 hits already, leading to 15 runs over just 18 ⅔ innings. Nelson has also only made it out of the fifth inning once in seven starts, although he did pick up the win last time out against Los Angeles, shutting out the Dodgers over five innings.

Nelson was one of the few DBacks hurlers to give the Rangers fits in the World Series last year, holding them to one run over 5 ⅓ innings after Game 4 had gotten out of hand in an eventual 11-7 Texas win in the game started by Heaney. 

Pfaadt was the Game 3 starter for Arizona last fall and he gave up three runs in 5 ⅓ innings in a game that Texas won to begin their string of three straight wins at Chase Field to win their first championship. 

With each team lagging below expectations after a run as underdogs, the allure of a “World Series rematch” might have lost a little of its luster – but the circumstances should bring back some happy memories to Globe Life Field, and with that, maybe some added incentive to get a winning streak going for Texas.

Do you think the Rangers will remember the Fall Classic and beat the Diamondbacks again? Share your predictions with Matt on X (formerly Twitter) @FisherWritesMLB.


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