1. Corey Seager is coming for history
Shortstop Corey Seager continues to amaze with his ridiculous postseason and flair for the big hit. Every time Texas has needed their $325 million star to come through, Seager has not only been at the plate, but has delivered. He did so once again in the Rangers’ 3-1 victory in Game 3 by crushing the go-ahead, two-run shot. The homer was his fifth this postseason and his second in the World Series. Only three players have won World Series MVP multiple times: Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson. If Seager, who won the award during the 2020 World Series, keeps up this pace, he could be adding his name to that elite list.
2. Brandon Pfaadt continues to impress
Who would have guessed when the postseason started that the D-backs’ most consistent starters would be Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt? Pfaadt has been electric this postseason and turned into not only a reliable starter, but one who gives Arizona an opportunity to win in each start. The rookie right-hander threw 5 1/3 innings, allowing just three runs in the D-backs’ loss. He struck out four hitters, and is now sporting a 3.27 ERA.
“It was super important, considering what we’re going to go through tomorrow,” manager Torey Lovullo said.
“But pitching into the sixth inning, giving us a little bit extra was a big moment for him, because I know I extended him a little bit, but he accepted that responsibility. He did enough to win the baseball game.”
Coming into the postseason with an ERA over 5.00 during the regular season, Pfaadt was a big question mark for the D-backs. Now, he may be the reason they could still be alive later in this series.
3. Injuries could play huge role in series
At this point in the season, every player is a little banged up, but that doesn’t make it easier when those bumps and bruises turn into missing games. Starter Max Scherzer exited his start before the fourth inning of the Rangers’ win on Monday with back tightness. Scherzer fought back from a right shoulder strain in September that was initially thought to have put him out for the remainder of the season. The three-time Cy Young Award-winner made it back but has hardly looked like himself, and his back issue could keep him out of the remainder of the World Series.
“It was his low back that tightened up on him, “manager Bruce Bochy said. “He just couldn’t go anymore.”
Scherzer would likely start Game 7 if the series made it to that point.
4. The Aroldis Chapman experience should be over
Everyone in the ballpark knew what was in store during the eighth inning of Game 3. No longer the shutdown closer that he was in the past, Aroldis Chapman is now a setup man for José LeClerc. But the Chapman experience is one that is all too predictable for Texas. It begins with him losing the strike zone, allowing hard contact or walking batters.
If it weren’t for a well-turned double play ball by Seager and Marcus Semien on a ball hit 114 mph by Ketel Marte, the Rangers were likely going to have to bring LeClerc into the game earlier than they would have liked.
Bullpens can make or break a team in the postseason, and it might be time to close the book on Chapman’s high-leverage appearances.