Texas, a team that invested heavily with a clear dream of winning the World Series, has finally taken the final step toward that dream. Despite the lackluster performance of their trusted championship hired gun, the bats came through. Merrill Kelly (Arizona), the KBO’s reverse export myth, pulled the team back from the brink.
Texas won Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against Houston in the 2023 Major League Baseball postseason, 11-4, at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on Thursday. Texas swept the series, 4-3, and advanced to the World Series. This is the first time in 12 years that Texas has advanced to the World Series since 2011. The Rangers made it to the World Series two years in a row in 2010 and 2011, but lost both times. This time, they had a chance to make amends.
In Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, Arizona defeated Philadelphia 5-1 behind Kelly’s complete-game performance to even the series at three games apiece. This year’s Major League Baseball Championship Series will go to a best-of-seven series in both leagues. Arizona and Philadelphia will face off in a fateful Game 7 on Friday at 9:07 p.m., with the winner advancing to the World Series, where Texas awaits.
Scherzer struggles again, but the heart of the lineup remains intact
Texas acquired veteran starter Max Scherzer from the New York Mets at the trade deadline. With Jacob deGrom out for the season after elbow surgery, the team needed an ace to lead them in the second half and postseason. Despite the general consensus that Scherzer’s stuff wasn’t as good as it was in his prime, Texas expected him to deliver on the big stage.
However, after winning 214 regular-season games in his major league career, Scherzer was sidelined with a season-ending injury and did not pitch in the Division Series. He returned to the roster for the Championship Series, but struggled in Game 3 against Houston, giving up five runs in four innings. At the time, Texas was coming home with a two-game lead on the road. A win in Game 3 would have given them a golden opportunity to end the series early, but Scherzer’s struggles didn’t help.
Texas dropped Games 3 through 5 at home, but bounced back with a win in Game 6 on the road, and Scherzer was given the start in Game 7. Conversely, Houston had the benefit of starting Game 3 winner Christian Javier, who has been unusually strong in the postseason. But the Texas bats came out firing, and Javier’s confidence was quickly dashed.
Texas struck first in the first inning when Corey Seager hit a solo shot to right-center field. Evan Carter followed with a walk, stole second, and scored on a single by Adolis Garcia to give Texas a 2-0 lead. Adolis Garcia then stole second and Mitch Garber followed with an RBI single to score three runs in the first inning, making Houston nervous. Houston starter Javier suffered an early setback, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out one.
Houston chipped away at it. Scherzer was not a reliable reliever either. The Astros loaded the bases in the first inning after Jose Altuve doubled and one out later, Jordan Alvarez walked. Jose Abreu followed with an RBI single to bring in a run.
Texas regained the lead in the top of the third when Adolis Garcia hit a solo home run to right field (4-1). Houston answered back in the bottom of the third with a solo home run by Alex Bregman (4-2). Jordan Alvarez, who has been on a tear at the plate in the postseason, followed with a triple, and Texas brought in Jordan Montgomery to relieve Scherzer two batters later. Scherzer didn’t do his part either, allowing two runs in 2⅔ innings.
The pitching change paid off, as a rested Texas broke the game open with a four-run fourth inning. Josh Young led off with a single, Marcus Seamian walked to put runners on first and second, and Corey Seager followed with an infield single. In a fateful moment, Evan Carter’s two-run double (6-2) was followed by Adolis Garcia’s two-run single to make it 8-2. It was a moment that left Houston with nothing to play for.
The ‘fall veteran’ Houston’s color deepened, and Texas sealed the deal in the top of the sixth inning when Nathaniel Lowe hit a two-run double with the bases loaded to make it 8-2. There was no comeback, and Texas won 11-4 to advance to the World Series.
In the second game, Montgomery pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, which proved to be the difference in Texas’ victory. It was a valuable outing that overshadowed Scherzer’s struggles. Seeger led the way with three hits, including a home run, while Garcia had a big game with four hits and five RBIs. Alvarez had three hits and Altuve and Bregman each had two, but Houston’s dreams of reaching the World Series were dashed as the bullpen struggled behind Javier.토토사이트
In the previous game, Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, Arizona won 5-1 to send the series to Game 7. It was Merrill Kelly who saved Arizona from a 3-2 deficit. Kelly, a familiar face to our fans from his four years in the KBO, went five and a third innings, striking out eight and giving up one run, shutting down a long-hitting Philadelphia lineup.
Arizona opened the scoring in the second inning with a solo home run by Tommy Pham, followed by a back-to-back homer by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to make it 1-0. Not letting go of the reins, Arizona took a 3-0 lead when Alec Thomas walked and Evan Longoria followed with a timely double.
With Kelly continuing his solid pitching, Arizona added a run in the fifth on an RBI triple by Ketel Marte. Marte added another RBI single in the seventh to seal the win.
This was Kelly’s first postseason appearance of the year, and she’s doing her part. In three games, she’s 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA. If Arizona wins Game 7, he could still be in line for a World Series start. Arizona will start Brandon Potts in Game 7, while the Phillies will send Ranger Suarez to the mound.