1 of 5 | Second baseman Ketel Marte and the Arizona Diamondbacks will face the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the World Series at 8:03 p.m. EDT Friday in Arlington, Texas. File Photo by Rick D'Elia/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 26 (UPI) -- One long championship drought will end at the conclusion of the 2023 World Series, with the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks fighting for the Commissioner's Trophy. Game 1 of the series will be Friday in Arlington.
The first pitch of the best-of-seven game series is scheduled for 8:03 p.m. EDT at the Rangers' Globe Life Field. The games will air on Fox.
"If you're playing good baseball in the playoffs, we've seen it before, stuff can happen," Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll, the National League Rookie of the Year favorite, told reporters Tuesday.
"With our [regular-season] race going down to the end, it was exciting to come out in the top half of that and realize we would have a chance to do this thing."
The Diamondbacks aim to capture their first title since 2001, when they edged the New York Yankees, with Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera, in seven games. That title came in the Diamondbacks' fourth year of existence.
The Rangers, established in 1972 when a second edition of the Washington Senators moved to Texas, are still seeking for their first World Series title.
"This team has played with as much heart and determination as any club I've had," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. "They all have, but it's just amazing how they've kept getting up."
The Rangers are betting favorites to win the World Series, which is expected to extend past four games. Neither team was within the top half of the 30-team league in preseason odds to win the title.
Neither the Rangers nor the Diamondbacks won their division, earning Wild Card entries in MLB's 12-team postseason field. The Rangers (90-72), who ranked inside the Top 5 in payroll, earned a No. 5 seed in the American League.
The Diamondbacks, who had the 10th lowest payroll in MLB, earned a No. 6 seed in the National League. They were tied with the Miami Marlins for the worst regular-season record (84-78) among playoff teams.
The Rangers, who clinched a postseason spot for the first time since 2016, started their run by beating the No. 4 Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 in the Wild Card round. They then swept the top-seeded Baltimore Orioles in the American League Division Series. They advanced to the World Series by upsetting the No. 2 Houston Astros 4-3 in the American League Championship Series.
The Diamondbacks are in the postseason for just the second time since 2011. They beat the No. 3 Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 in the Wild Card round.
They then swept the No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The Diamondbacks edged the No. 4 Philadelphia Phillies in seven games to reach MLB's grandest stage.
While both franchises might not list recent postseason experience on their resumes, their staffs and rosters feature several players and coaches who have had World Series success.
With the Rangers' ALCS triumph, Bochy became the third manager in MLB history to reach World Series with three different franchises. He led the San Diego Padres to the 1998 World Series, which they lost. He won the World Series three times with the San Francisco Giants, claiming titles in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe played in the 2020 World Series with the Rays. Shortstop Corey Seager won a World Series in 2020 with the Dodgers. He also earned World Series and NLCS MVP honors during that run.
Pitchers Max Scherzer (2019), Sandy Leon (2018), Nathan Eovaldi (2018), Aroldis Chapman (2016) and Will Smith (2021, 2022) also have World Series rings.
On the Diamondbacks side, manager Torey Lovullo was a member of the Boston Red Sox staff, serving as a bench coach during their 2018 World Series win.
Veteran third baseman Evan Longoria appeared in the 2008 World Series and pitcher Ryan Thompson appeared in the 2020 World Series, both with the Rays.
The Rangers are the best-hitting (.265) team this postseason, among teams that played more than two games. Their .481 slugging percentage and 22 home runs rank second, behind the Philadelphia Phillies (.488 and 24). The Rangers lead the field with 113 hits, 71 runs scored and 67 RBIs through a dozen playoff games.
The Diamondbacks rank third in hits (99) and fourth in runs (51), RBIs (50) and home runs (18). Their .247 batting average also ranks fourth among teams that played more than two games.
From a pitching standpoint, the Diamondbacks hold a slight edge. Their 3.23 ERA ranks third among teams that played past the first round. The Diamondbacks picked up a league-leading six saves and allowed a .231 batting average, the second-best mark among teams that reached the second round.
Rangers pitchers allowed a .241 average and posted a 3.67 ERA, the fourth-best marks among those staffs that pitched past the first round.
The Diamondbacks' bullpen owns a 2.94 ERA compared to the Rangers' 3.72 mark this postseason. The Rangers and Diamondbacks starters logged nearly identical ERAs, with respective 3.62 and 3.63 ERAs.
The Rangers (4.28) and Diamondbacks (4.48) were in the bottom half of pitching ERA during the regular season. Rangers starters logged the seventh-best regular-season ERA (3.96), while Diamondbacks starters ranked 21st (4.67).
The Rangers offense was among the best in baseball during the regular season, leading the American League and ranking second in MLB with a .263 batting average and 1,470 hits. They also led the American League with 845 runs scored and tied for the lead with 233 home runs.
The Diamondbacks tied for 13th in MLB with a .250 average this season. They tied for hitting the fifth-fewest home runs (166) in the National League.
Second baseman Ketel Marte, the NLCS MVP, is the hottest hitter among players on the World Series rosters. His .358 average this postseason ranks third among players who played more than three games. Carroll (.295), catcher Gabriel Moreno (.279), shortstop Geraldo Perdomo (.278) and outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.250) are among the Diamondbacks' other top hitters this postseason.
Seager (.333), outfielders Adolis Garcia (.327) and Evan Carter (.308), designated hitter Mitch Garver (.294) and third baseman Josh Jung (.289) are among the Rangers' top playoff hitters.
Garcia, the ALCS MVP, also logged a playoff-leading seven home runs and 20 RBIs during the Rangers' run. Jung (3), Lowe (3), Seager (3), Heim (2) and Garver (2) are the other Rangers players with multiple postseason homers.
Outfielder Alek Thomas (4), Moreno (3), Carroll (2), Marte (2), Perdomo (2) and outfielder Tommy Pham (2) also recorded multiple long balls this postseason for the Diamondbacks.
Seager (.327) and Carroll (.285) were the top hitters, between both rosters, during the regular season. Garcia's 39 regular-season home runs were the most among players set to compete in the World Series.
"We are good at focusing on the little things," Garcia said. "We really just try to look at the little things we need to do to get that win or be successful. That's been key for us in getting wins on the road as well."
Starters Jordan Montgomery of the Rangers and Merrill Kelly of the Diamondbacks owned the best regular-season ERAs, with respective 3.20 and 3.29 marks. Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen (3.47) and Rangers starter Dane Dunning (3.70) are among the other top pitchers in the World Series.
All World Series games will start at 8:03 p.m. Game 2 of the World Series will also be at Globe Life Field on Saturday in Arlington. The World Series will then move to Phoenix for Game 3 on Monday and Game 4 on Tuesday at Chase Field.
The Diamondbacks will also host Game 5 on Wednesday, if necessary. Game 6 and Game 7, if necessary, would be held Nov. 3 and 4 in Arlington.
All times EDT
Game 1: Diamondbacks at Rangers at 8:03 p.m. on Fox
Game 2: Diamondbacks at Rangers at 8:03 p.m. on Fox
Game 3: Rangers at Diamondbacks at 8:03 p.m. on Fox
Game 4: Rangers at Diamondbacks at 8:03 p.m. on Fox
Game 5 (if necessary): Rangers at Diamondbacks at 8:03 p.m. on Fox
Game 6 (if necessary): Diamondbacks at Rangers at 8:03 p.m. on Fox
Game 7 (if necessary): Diamondbacks at Rangers at 8:03 p.m. on Fox
Texas Rangers players celebrate after defeating the Houston Astros 11-3 to win the ALCS and advance to the World Series, at Minute Maid Park in Houston on October 23, 2023. Photo by Kevin M. Cox/UPI | License Photo