After two compelling League Championship Series, both of which went seven games, it’s time for a 2023 World Series preview.

Fans can only hope that the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks can replicate the excitement of the playoffs thus far. Obviously, this isn’t the matchup anyone was expecting at the start of the playoffs, much less the start of the season. But both the Rangers and Diamondbacks have earned the right to play in the Fall Classic with the Commissioner’s Trophy on the line. 

2023 World Series Preview and Prediction

Based on the way the postseason has gone thus far, it won’t be easy making World Series predictions. We’ve seen both underdogs and road teams excel in October with both the Rangers and Diamondbacks going 9-3 thus far. Therefore, we put together a 2023 World Series preview that looks at the series from every angle before picking a winner.

Starting pitching

Traditionally, starting pitching has been a huge indicator of postseason success and will likely have a critical role in the 2023 World Series. For Texas, Nathan Eovaldi was able to shake off a problematic September and put together an outstanding October thus far. In his four playoff starts, he’s 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA. Meanwhile, lefty Jordan Montgomery is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA over four starts and one relief appearance. However, finding quality starts outside of those two has been a challenge.

Andrew Heaney’s starts have been brief and ineffective while Max Scherzer has pitched to a 9.45 ERA across his two playoff starts, as he’s no longer the proven ace he was a few years ago.

    

On the other side, the Diamondbacks have a chance to roll out three quality starters. To be fair, Zac Gallen has had some mixed results, going 2-2 with a 5.24 ERA over his four starts. But Arizona’s confidence in him remains high. Fortunately for the D’Backs, they have a second ace in Merrill Kelly, who has given Arizona a chance to win all three of his starts.

Finally, rookie Brandon Pfaadt has been a revelation during the playoffs. The Diamondbacks have made it a point to cut his starts short. However, he’s allowed just two runs on eight hits with 18 strikeouts over his last 14 innings of work, giving Arizona a third quality starting pitcher, even if there is no fourth starter in the picture right now.

Bullpen

In recent years, bullpens have played a critical role in crowning a World Series champion. This could be an area where the D’Backs have a slight edge. The Arizona bullpen is 5-0 with a 2.94 ERA and six saves in seven opportunities during the postseason. Closer Paul Sewald and setup man Kevin Ginkel have combined for 17 scoreless innings thus far. Ryan Thompson has been nearly as impressive, giving the D’Backs three excellent late-game options. Lefties Andrew Saalfrank and Joe Mantiply and veteran Miguel Castro also help to give the Arizona bullpen a little extra depth.

In fairness, the Texas bullpen hasn’t been that bad. However, the Rangers’ relievers are 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA and three saves in four opportunities during the postseason. The Texas lineup has scored enough runs to take some pressure off the bullpen late in games with five of their nine wins coming by at least four runs. Closer Jose Leclerc has had one or two rough moments, but he’s also come up big in situations. Meanwhile, the trio of Josh Sborz, Aroldis Chapman, and Cody Bradford all have an ERA under 2.00 during the playoffs, so there aren’t a ton of concerns about the Texas bullpen at the moment.

Lineup

The Rangers have stolen the show with their offense during the postseason, averaging 5.1 runs per game. While Adolis Garcia may not be among the greatest outfielders in baseball history, he had an outstanding ALCS and has hit seven home runs in the postseason. The same can be said of Corey Seager, who isn’t yet among the greatest shortstops of all time but had the second-best OPS in the majors during the regular season and has been even better during the playoffs. Josh Jung, Mitch Garver, and Evan Carter have also been regular contributors, helping the Rangers to hit 22 homers in 18 games. Even with leadoff hitter Marcus Semien struggling to get going, the Rangers have showcased exceptional firepower in October.

    

As for the D’Backs, they’ve averaged a more modest 4.3 runs per game over 12 playoff games. However, they are also undefeated when scoring at least four runs. With 18 home runs in 12 playoff games, Arizona’s lineup has a surprising amount of power even if they can’t match up to Texas in that area. Corbin Carroll has been up and down but came alive in Game 7 of the NLCS. Meanwhile, Ketel Marte has been unstoppable throughout the playoffs. Those two are the key table-setters for the D’Backs, giving the rest of the Arizona lineup opportunities to drive in runs.

Prediction

In terms of scoring runs, the Rangers have a clear advantage over the Diamondbacks in this series. However, they’ve had a propensity for being streaky, which can be a double-edged sword. If Texas goes cold during the layoff between the ALCS and the start of the World Series, the Rangers could lose their mojo and struggle to get back on track.

Equally important, the Diamondbacks have three reliable starting pitchers whereas Texas might only have two right now. Plus, the Arizona bullpen has been close to flawless late in games, which can’t be said of the Texas bullpen.

The kicker is that the Diamondbacks are the best defensive team in baseball, using speed and athleticism at several positions to prevent runs. With a deeper pitching staff and great defense, we’re picking the Diamondbacks to beat the Rangers in the 2023 World Series.

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