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The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

Commentary: Covering the Bases

Texas Rangers win first world series title in unprecedented postseason

The 2023 Major League Baseball postseason was full of upsets and historic victories that exemplified the unpredictable, thrilling nature of October baseball. 

All of the victors in each Wild Card series swept their opponents. In the American League, the Texas Rangers’ pitching silenced the Tampa Bay Rays’ offense as they allowed a total of one run to score in the series. The Texas Rangers’ offense shined early in the postseason scoring a total of 11 runs in these two games. The Tampa Bay Rays won an impressive 99 games in a competitive division during the regular season. However, they have continued to fall short in the postseason over the last few years. 

The Minnesota Twins defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in a low-scoring Wild Card series. The Twins overcame the stigma of an 18-game postseason losing streak with an outstanding pitching performance. Despite solid pitching and a number of power bats, the Blue Jays’ lack of runs leaves them looking for their first playoff win since 2016. 

In the National League Wild Card series, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Miami Marlins with exceptional pitching in game one and offensive domination in game two. Zack Wheeler, an all-star pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, allowed only one earned run in game one. In game two, Bryson Stott, the 26-year-old second baseman, hit a grand slam to send the Phillies to the NLDS. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Milwaukee Brewers with an impressive offensive showing, including a comeback in game two. The Brewers quickly lost their chance at winning their first World Series title in franchise history, but an unexpected postseason run for the Arizona Diamondbacks began. 

In the ALDS, the reigning World Series champions, the Houston Astros, eliminated the Minnesota Twins to secure their seventh straight ALCS appearance. The former Astro, Carlos Correa, continued to rack up postseason RBIs despite the different team name on his jersey. The Twins ultimately could not handle the playoff-seasoned Astros’ offense as the Astros won 3-1.

Photo by Louis DeLuca, Dallas (Used with permission)

The Baltimore Orioles faced the Texas Rangers in the ALDS as two teams who have not made the playoffs since 2016 battled it out. A recent surge of young talent for both teams allowed them to win a substantial number of games in competitive divisions. Texas swept Baltimore with close fights in games one and two. To much of the baseball world’s surprise, none of the AL East teams in the postseason won a single game. Although the Orioles’ offense sparked to life in game two, the Rangers’ hot offense took advantage of the weaknesses within their pitching rotation. 

In the NLDS, the Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves in a division rivalry. The Phillies’ offense was unstoppable in this series with big home runs from stars Nick Castellanos and Bryce Harper. An Atlanta win in game two from a fantastic defensive play led to controversy after Bryce Harper got his revenge with an emphatic homerun. Harper stared down Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia because of a comment Arcia made about Harper after the Phillies lost game two. With the exception of their World Series title in 2021, the Braves have demonstrated a pattern of a strong regular season record followed by a poor postseason performance. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS with an astonishing offensive performance. In game one, the Diamondbacks scored 11 runs, and six of those runs were scored against Dodgers veteran Clayton Kershaw. As an Astros fan, I viewed this series as the rebellion taking down the empire. 

The Diamondbacks continued to shock the baseball world as they defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS. The Diamondbacks bounced back from a 10-0 loss in game two, and they defied the odds to win games six and seven in Philadelphia.

 In the ALCS, baseball fans witnessed a fierce rivalry between the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros. The teams had the same regular season record, but Houston had home-field advantage. This served as a curse for Houston as they lost every game at home, losing the series to the Rangers 3-4. The Astros are the only team to lose all four games at home in a postseason series, and they have now done it twice with their loss to the Washington Nationals in the 2019 World Series. In game five of the ALCS, an excessive home run celebration by Adolis García led to the benches clearing. The former MVP, José Altuve, led the Astros’ comeback with a three-run home run in the top of the ninth. Altuve continues to demonstrate humility as one of the most clutch postseason players in MLB history despite massive fan hatred. Although the Rangers advanced to the World Series, the Astros have continued to prove themselves as a postseason dynasty. 

The Texas Rangers won their first World Series title defeating the Diamondbacks 4-1. The 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush, threw out the first pitch in game one as a lifelong Rangers fan. The 2023 World Series was the least-watched World Series in MLB history, even after a regular season with improved ratings. This is most likely due to the size of the fan bases of the teams who played, while the teams with bigger fan bases were eliminated early. Many fans were frustrated that the teams with the best records were eliminated quickly. They blamed it on their team having a bye while the wild card winners built momentum. I think the teams with the best records should be able to back it up in the playoffs regardless of the format. The 2023 postseason was a different atmosphere with the addition of the pitch clock, which enforces a time limit for pitchers and batters. Baseball left me frustrated this past October as I watched my favorite team get eliminated, but I think Ben Wrightman in the movie Fever Pitch said it best. “It’s a little like math. It’s orderly. Win or lose, it’s fair.”

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About the Contributor
Benjamin Bannerman, Reporter
I am a junior on staff, and I'm excited for my first year on The Tiger. My goal is to entertain and inform through journalism. When I am not writing for Tiger News, I enjoy traveling, watching baseball, and hiking.

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