Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays Wild Card Series Preview

AL Wild Card

The Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays are back in the playoffs. The Rangers are back for the first time since 2016, when they lost in the ALDS. The Rays are back for the fifth consecutive season. The 2023 head-to-head matchup saw the Rangers take the series 4-2 against the Rays, and the Rangers outscored them 27-25.

Texas Rangers (90-72) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (99-63)

Game 1:

Date: Tuesday, October 3
Time: 3:08 pm EST
Broadcast: ABC

Game 2:

Date: Wednesday, October 4
Time: 3:08 pm EST
Broadcast: ABC

Game 3: If Necessary

Date: Wednesday, October 5
Time: TBD
Broadcast: ABC

Probable Starting Pitchers

Game 1: Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.20 ERA) vs. Tyler Glasnow (10-7, 3.53 ERA)

Jordan Montgomery will start the series as he gets the ball for the Rangers. Over his last five starts, Montgomery has gone 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA, a 1.01 WHIP, a 7.7 K/9, and a 28:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his career against the Rays, he is 3-4 in 14 starts; he posts a career 4.94 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP, and a 9.6 K/9.

Tyler Glasnow will take the ball for the Rays to start the series. Glasnow, in his last five starts, went 3-2 with a 5.13 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP, a 14.4 K/9, and a 42:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his career against the Rangers, he is 3-0 in three starts, posting a 0.46 ERA, a 0.56 WHIP, and an 11.9 K/9.

Game 2: Nathan Eovaldi (12-5, 3.63 ERA) vs. Zach Eflin (16-8, 3.50 ERA)

Nathan Eovaldi will get game two of the series for Texas. Over his last five starts, he is 1-1 with an 8.05 ERA, a 1.74 WHIP, a 9.5 K/9, and a 20:12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Against the Rays in his career, he has made 18 starts, going 7-6; he posts a career 3.77 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, and a 9.8 K.9.

Zach Eflin will get the ball in game two for the Rays. In his last five starts, he is 3-0 with a 4.00 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, an 11.7 K/9, and a 35:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his career against the Rangers, he is 0-1 in his lone start, going four innings, giving up 11 hits and seven earned runs; he walked two and struck out one in that outing.

Game 3: Dane Dunning (12-6, 3.72 ERA) vs. TBD

If the game goes to game three, the Rangers will have Dane Dunning on the mound. In his last five starts, he is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, an 8.4 K/9, and a 25:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his career against the Rays, he has made three starts going 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP, and an 8.4 K/9.

The Rays have not announced a starter for the, if necessary, game if it gets that far.

Rangers vs. Rays Batting Leaders

Texas vs. Tampa Bay Batting Stats
ESPN

Key for the Texas Rangers

Pitching

The Rangers lineup can keep pace with anyone in the league as they rank in the top in just about every offensive category, with the difference in the pitching where they rank in the middle of the pack. Starting the season with a staff that included Jacob deGrom and then adding Max Scherzer at the trade deadline, the fact they are in the middle is a little surprising with those names, but they both suffered injuries and are out for this series. The Rangers will need Eovaldi to turn in a playoff appearance like he did in 2018 and 2021 with the Red Sox and Montgomery to be the dominant Montgomery for them to have a chance in this series.

Key for the Tampa Bay Rays

Offense

The Rays’ pitching is one of the best in the league, but they have sustained injuries all over the roster throughout the season, but that hasn’t stopped them from returning to the postseason. The Rangers can score, and the Rays will need to do the same to keep pace with a high-powered offense in Texas; if their pitching can sustain what it’s done this year and the lineup produces as it has, the Rays could find themselves in the ALDS.

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