Two years ago before Dave Roberts was extended, I advocated for Bruce Bochy to be the manager. Of course, a certain blogger lambasted the idea as moronic. Come on, I have had multiple even more moronic ideas than Bochy being the LAD manager. There are certain managers and players that do not succumb to the pressure of playoff baseball, and Chris Young knew who to go after.
After one year at the helm of the Texas Rangers, Bochy became the first manager in MLB history to take a 3rd different team to the World Series. He won three of the four World Series he took his team to. Now with a 4th WS title, he has become just the 6th MLB manager to win four or more WS. He joins Joe McCarthy (seven), Casey Stengel (seven), Connie Mack (five), Walter Alston (four) and Joe Torre (four).
Now CY needed the players who would not melt under the pressure.
CY first signed Corey Seager (2020 NLCS and WS MVP) and Marcus Semien to cement their infield. They knew Josh Jung would eventually be the 3B once he was healthy. They needed pitching and an OF.
The same year, they signed longtime Colorado Ace, Jon Gray. Okay, Ace is a stretch when talking about a Rockies starter.
The Rangers first year with the big ticket free agents did not do well. They improved 8 games, but still lost 94 games.
This year, CY went out and signed Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney, to join Jon Gray, Martín Pérez and Dane Dunning. Immediately Jacob deGrom suffered his 2nd UCL tear and had his 2nd TJ surgery. Knowing pitching was a weakness, their top of the rotation was Eovaldi and Gray. Neither ticketed to the HOF.
Once they reached the trade deadline, CY was not shy about adding to the roster with quality. They needed pitching and went out and traded for both Jordan Montgomery and Max Scherzer.
Montgomery was stellar throughout the season and the playoffs, and just like with LAD, Scherzer disappeared in the playoffs.
The team lost Corey Seager, Josh Jung, Nathan Eovaldi, and Mitch Garver for lengthy periods during the season. They had Ezequial Duran to back up both Seager and Jung. Adolis Garcia became an All Star. Jonah Heim continued his development and became an All Star catcher. They needed an upgrade over Robbie Grossman in LF and called up 21 year old Evan Carter.
Nathan Eovaldi and Jordan Montgomery were the Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling with this team. Eovaldi was 5-0 and the Rangers won all 6 games he started. Montgomery was 3-1 and the Rangers were 4-2 in his 6 starts.
Texas had 5 former LAD and 4 were outstanding in the playoffs: Corey Seager, Nathan Eovaldi, Andrew Heaney, and Josh Sborz. Max Scherzer was the 5th.
Texas won 11 away games a MLB WS record. They refused to lose. Eovaldi was pitching heavy stress innings in Game 5. He allowed 4 hits and 5 walks in 6.0 IP, and somehow did not give up a run. His D-back counter, Zac Gallen, pitched brilliantly. He had a no-hitter through 6 innings. Corey Seager reached out and slapped a base hit to LF in the 7th to start the inning. The flood gates opened and Evan Carter doubled and Mitch Garver singled Seager home and a 1-0 lead.
After Gallen struck out Jung, Kevin Ginkel relieved hard luck Gallen and retired the side with no further runs.
Paul Sewald entered in the 9th down only 1-0, and for the 2nd straight outing he was hit hard. He gave up 4 runs on 5 hits.
Josh Sborz finished the final 2.1 innings, allowing 1 hit and got 4 Ks. Texas won their first WS EVER.
Phenomenal glove spike from Josh Sborz pic.twitter.com/mY8QNhveDi
— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) November 2, 2023
Corey Seager won his 2nd WS MVP. Oh, how the Dodgers miss him.
Once a Dodger…. CONGRATS TO COREY SEAGER FOR HIS 2ND CAREER WORLD SERIES TITLE WITH THE TEXAS RANGERS💙🔥 pic.twitter.com/LM2cyOwVYU
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) November 2, 2023
Both teams were non-quit. Texas was just better. They had the better players, and they did not melt under pressure. Neither did Arizona. In fact, Texas relished the pressure. The Dodgers MVP in the 2017 WS was Joc Pederson. In 2020 it was Corey Seager. The Dodgers do not have a player who can play under such pressure since Seager has left. Nathan Eovaldi will not get any HOF votes when he retires. But in the playoffs, he was a better pitcher than Clayton Kershaw. Let’s not forget what he did for Boston in the 2018 WS even though he lost in extras on a Max Muncy HR. Eovaldi has handled the pressure in two WS.
The last LAD pitcher who thrived under pressure was Orel Hershiser. The Dodgers do not have an Orel Hershiser or Nathan Eovaldi.
We have heard the problem with Mookie was that he ran out of gas. And yet an older Marcus Semien played in every game, and now has more PA than any other MLB hitter in MLB history with 835. He not only did well in the WS, he was the hitting star of Game 5 and homered on PA 835.
Travis Jankowski comes off the bench to replace playoff star (ALCS MVP) Adolis Garcia. He plays great defense and delivers a couple of key hits in Game 4.
CY went out and got players who succeeded in the playoffs starting with Bruce Bochy. Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Adolis Garcia, Nathan Eovaldi, Evan Carter, Josh Jung all played stellar post season baseball. As they answered after the series when asked what was the difference, they said they were winners. The owners, CY, and Bruce Bochy all said the team was resilient.
The Rangers lost the final game 1-0 to Seattle and knocked them out of the Division Championship. They lost 4 of their last 6 games so they did not go into the playoffs on a hot streak.
Texas was a slug first team that somehow found a way to score runs when they needed to. The pitching was outstanding, and even the poor bullpen pulled through. The Rangers just handled the pressure the Dodgers have not been able to.
I guarantee that Chris Young is not making $7MM/year, and yet he found a manager and players who succeeded in the playoffs, and did it in 3 years, something AF did not do, and seems to be going backwards.
For those who believe the playoffs are a crapshoot, the Rangers win means nothing. But for those of us who believe that certain players and managers perform better under pressure than other players and managers, Texas was a great playoff team.
AF builds teams for the 162 game schedule, CY built a WS champion 2 years after they lost 102 games.