Nathan Eovaldi, Rangers shoot for World Series clincher
Posted on: 01 Nov, 2023 at 04:59 AM
Credit: Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
PHOENIX -- The Texas Rangers are one win away from their first World Series title, and they will ask Nathan Eovaldi to finish off the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 on Wednesday.
Texas grabbed a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with an 11-7 win in Game 4 on Tuesday, as leadoff hitter Marcus Semien contributed a three-run homer and a two-run triple.
The Rangers took the 48,388 fans out of the game early with five-run innings in the second and third. The Diamondbacks scored six runs in the last two innings but still fell far short.
Texas, which is a record 10-0 on the road in the postseason, will look to complete a perfect away run behind Eovaldi. The veteran right-hander is 4-0 with a 3.52 ERA over five postseason starts, with 36 strikeouts and five walks in 30 2/3 innings.
Eovaldi allowed five runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings in Game 1, which Texas won 6-5 in 11 innings. He fanned eight and walked one.
"I try to play to my strengths. At the same time, I try to learn from my mistakes I had," Eovaldi said. "So coming in this next start against these guys, I'll be pitching a little differently. But at the same time, just continue to use my strengths and attack their weaknesses."
In eight career regular-season appearances (five starts) against the Diamondbacks, Eovaldi is 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA.
To fight off elimination and try to send the series back to Texas for at least a Game 6, the Diamondbacks will turn to their ace, Zac Gallen. The right-hander has not been as sharp in the postseason as he was in the regular season, going 2-2 with a 5.27 ERA in five October starts. He has given up six home runs and walked 13 batters while striking out 18 in 27 1/3 innings.
Gallen was in line for a Game 1 win after throwing five innings of three-run ball, but the Arizona bullpen couldn't finish off the Rangers.
"For me, I'm treating it just like it's May, honestly," Gallen said of the Game 5 assignment. "And I don't know ... hopefully this isn't the last time I'm experiencing this and this heavy of a workload, this late of a workload.
"I'm still trying to get better each day, really. I just threw like a 35-pitch bullpen (session) Monday, where I think some people might try and taper it off, keep that in the 20s or whatever it is. But I'm still trying to work on things, still trying to get better.
"Until the final bell rings, I'm going to keep plugging away and keep seeing what the deal is with my delivery and all types of different things, feels and whatnot. I mean, it's maybe not the greatest thing to be throwing as much as I am, but it's what makes me feel prepared and what eases me mentally."
The Rangers will have to go the rest of the World Series without injured slugger Adolis Garcia, who racked up eight home runs and 22 RBIs in the postseason. Travis Jankowski took Garcia's place in right field on Tuesday and delivered a two-run double and a single. Ezequiel Duran replaced Garcia on the World Series roster.
Garcia is sidelined due to an oblique strain he sustained in Game 3.
Texas right-hander Max Scherzer also won't be available. His back spasms in Game 3 forced his removal from the roster, with left-handed reliever Brock Burke taking his place.
Burke yielded three runs and got just one out in Game 4, his first appearance since he gave up two runs in one-third of an inning in Game 2 of the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Injuries aside, the Rangers are in a good place entering Game 5.
"Going out there and doing all you can to win a ballgame, and that's where we have to be thinking," Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's where our minds have to be."
--Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media