The Fall Classic is finally here, and the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks will face off in a best-of-seven series that will start on Friday evening live from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Notably this year, both the Rangers and Diamondbacks are managed by Tiger alumni.
Mike Hazen ’98 and Chris Young ’02 have orchestrated remarkable turnarounds over the past two seasons to get their teams to the World Series. Ahead of the most anticipated 10-day stretch of the MLB season, five members of The Daily Princetonian Sports Staff offered their picks.
Rangers in 6: Hayk Yengibaryan, Associate Sports Editor
If you told me at the start of the season that the Rangers and Diamondbacks would be meeting in the World Series, I’d probably laugh at you. But here we are. While we may not be getting the name-brand teams like the Dodgers, Braves, Phillies, or Astros in this year’s Fall Classic, I still expect it to be an amazing World Series for any fan of the sport.
I’ve underestimated the Diamondbacks this entire postseason. I had their ceiling projected as a second-round exit, but this young and scrappy team has proved me wrong. However, I just cannot fade the hitting power and pitching of this well-put Rangers squad. I expect this to be a very close series, with most games going down to the wire considering how both sides have performed thus far.
The Rangers do concern me a little, especially with Max Scherzer still not at 100 percent physically and a relatively weaker bullpen than the Diamondbacks, who have dominated the playoffs. Despite this, I simply believe the Rangers are, overall, the better team, with a far superior offense that the Diamondbacks won’t be able to match. Expect the Rangers to take Game 1 at home with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound and win in six after they come back from Arizona up 3–2. Adolis García will come up big for the Rangers, providing key early leads to pace the Rangers, earning himself the MVP honor on Nov. 3.
Rangers in 5: Max Hines, Sports Contributor
Rising out of relative anonymity, the Rangers and Diamondbacks made their way to a highly unexpected World Series thanks in part to spectacular young talent. Led by outfielder Corbin Carroll and a slew of youngsters, the Diamondbacks rallied against the Phillies in the NLCS, and their resolve is undeniable. Fellow outfielder Evan Carter has been revelatory for Texas this postseason, anchoring the lineup alongside more established veteran bats.
Despite Arizona’s recent success, the Rangers will emerge triumphant. Eovaldi and Jordan Montgomery will continue to shine, and Scherzer will return to his regular form, giving the Rangers a potent three-man rotation. Zac Gallen has struggled for Arizona, and while Brandon Pfaadt has picked up the slack, it won’t be enough.
Superior pitching, an extra rest day, and star power from the likes of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and “El Bombi” will power the Rangers to their first World Series title.
Diamondbacks in 7: Peter Wang, Sports Contributor
On paper, the Diamondbacks are outmatched by the Rangers, whose dominant offense powered them to a victory over the defending champion Houston Astros. The Rangers’ offense ranked near the top in multiple key stats during the regular season, and this success continued throughout October.
Conversely, the D-backs had a middle-of-the-pack offense in 2023, but they’ve shown their ability to dismantle high-powered offenses like the Brewers, Dodgers, and Phillies this postseason. The Rangers’ bullpen is a major concern, particularly given Scherzer’s last two starts since his return from injury.
If Diamondback pitchers can continue their magical postseason and hold off García and the rest of the Rangers, they’ve got a real chance at pulling off the upset. Look out for the presumptive NL Rookie of the Year, Carroll, to take home World Series MVP honors.
Diamondbacks in 7: Joe Ugialoro, Sports Contributor
With top-to-bottom talent and no easy outs in the lineup, it’s easy to understand why the Rangers are favored entering this World Series showdown. However, the Diamondbacks have built this entire postseason run on beating the favorites. This team was the underdog against the Brewers, Dodgers, and Phillies, then beat them all while only losing three games along the way.
Rookie sparkplug Carroll seems to have finally found his stride, and the team’s newfound emphasis on stolen bases – four in Game 7 against the Phillies – will give the Rangers fits on the basepaths. While García will continue to mash for the Rangers, Arizona’s starting pitching will keep games close into the late innings, where they can take advantage of the Rangers’ shaky bullpen.
With shutdown relievers Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald yet to allow an earned run in the playoffs, the D-backs will win the close games and bring a second ring back to the desert.
Rangers in 7: Lee Meister, Sports Contributor
After a tightly contested series, the Rangers will squeak by the Diamondbacks to lift the 2023 World Series trophy. Arizona’s bullpen, headlined by Ginkel (0 ER in four LCS appearances), is marginally better than Texas’ bullpen (4.73 ERA during the regular season).
While a weak bullpen is often an insurmountable challenge in the postseason, Texas’ one-two punch of Eovaldi and Montgomery has been dominant throughout October, easing the bullpen’s workload. The Rangers’ other key advantage comes in their World Series pedigree. Manager Bruce Bochy won three World Series titles with the Giants, with starting pitchers Scherzer and Eovaldi also having World Series rings. In comparison, the Diamondbacks are a much less experienced team, and few Diamondbacks players had any postseason experience at all going into this year.
In the end, the lights will prove too bright for the Diamondbacks, and the playoff-hardened Rangers will use the experience to their advantage in defeating their opponent.
Hayk Yengibaryan is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
Max Hines is a contributor to the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’
Peter Wang is a contributor to the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’
Joe Ugialoro is a contributor to the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’
Lee Meister is a contributor to the Sports section of the ‘Prince.’
Please send corrections to corrections[at]princeton.edu.