A Cubs Fan’s Guide to the World Series: Arizona vs. Texas — Just Like We All Drew It Up, Right?
The Unlikely Matchup
Every year, baseball pundits make predictions for the upcoming season, including who will make it to the World Series. But sometimes, reality surprises us, and that’s exactly what happened in the 2023 World Series. With the Arizona Diamondbacks facing off against the Texas Rangers, this matchup was certainly not what anyone had expected or predicted. Cubs fan and writer Sara Sanchez takes us through her thoughts and analysis of this unexpected World Series in her comprehensive guide.
The Meteor Line
Sanchez starts off by acknowledging that both teams in the World Series have exceeded expectations. As a Cubs fan, her rooting interests shifted as her team was eliminated from the postseason. She ranks the remaining teams based on her secondary rooting interests, placing the Phillies, Orioles, Mariners, Blue Jays, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Twins, and Marlins above the “meteor line,” which represents the minimum threshold for acceptable teams in the playoffs. Despite originally having the Rangers ranked above the Diamondbacks, she ultimately decides to cheer for the National League team.
Why Cheer for Both Teams?
Sanchez highlights some of the reasons why both the Diamondbacks and the Rangers are worth rooting for. These teams have exciting offenses that bring different strengths to the table. While fans may have personal or political reasons to dislike the Rangers or harbor resentment toward the Diamondbacks for defeating the Cubs, Sanchez believes there are plenty of good reasons to appreciate both teams. Ultimately, she settles on the Diamondbacks as her favored team, but acknowledges that the margin is slim.
Arizona’s Surprising Success
Sanchez marvels at how the Diamondbacks managed to defeat several strong teams and make it to the World Series. Despite their regular-season record of 84 wins, they overcame the 92-win Brewers, the 100-win Dodgers, and the 90-win Phillies in the postseason. The Diamondbacks have consistently found a way to win when it matters most. Sanchez speculates that their ability to generate offense through stolen bases, leading the postseason with 16 steals, could give them an edge against the Rangers. However, she also highlights the defensive prowess of the Rangers’ catcher in controlling the running game, offering a potential hurdle for the Diamondbacks.
Reliable Relievers and Offensive Prowess
Sanchez emphasizes the role of Arizona’s bullpen in their success, with relievers holding opposing teams to minimal runs once they have a lead. The Diamondbacks’ relievers are undefeated in the postseason, pitching 49 innings with an ERA of 2.94. While this might be overperforming their peripheral statistics, it’s still an impressive feat. In contrast, the Rangers’ bullpen has had its challenges, with a 3-2 record, a 3.72 ERA, and a high 5.28 WHIP. However, the Rangers boast an elite offense that has scored the most runs in the postseason, 71 in total, compared to the Diamondbacks’ 51 runs. The Rangers also have a higher team wRC+ (weighted runs created plus) of 124, indicating their ability to perform well in clutch situations.
The Importance of Pitching
Sanchez points out that Brandon Pfaadt, a rookie pitcher for the Diamondbacks, has been instrumental in their success. Pfaadt’s postseason performance with an ERA of 2.70, compared to a 5.72 ERA in the regular season, has been a key factor in the Diamondbacks’ victories. On the other hand, the Rangers’ starting pitchers have been solid, with a combined ERA of 3.62 in the postseason. This could pose a challenge for the Diamondbacks’ offense.
Philosophical Reflection: The Unpredictability of Baseball
Throughout her analysis, Sanchez highlights the unpredictability of baseball. Despite the odds, the Diamondbacks and Rangers have defied expectations and reached the grandest stage of them all. Baseball, with its countless variables and infinite combinations of outcomes, often surprises us. It reminds us that nothing is predetermined, and that even the most unexpected teams can rise to greatness. This is the beauty of the sport and what keeps us enthralled year after year.
Editorial & Predictions
Sanchez concludes her guide with her editorial opinion and prediction for the World Series. Having doubted the Diamondbacks for months, she cannot bring herself to doubt them again. In her view, the Diamondbacks have shown resilience, overcoming formidable opponents, and displaying an unyielding spirit. Sanchez predicts a seven-game series, with the Diamondbacks emerging as the champions. She hopes for a World Series to remember before the long offseason takes hold.
In the end, this unexpected World Series matchup is a reminder that baseball is always rife with surprises. It challenges us to reconsider our preconceived notions and embrace the unpredictability that makes the sport so captivating. Whether it’s the Diamondbacks or the Rangers who come out on top, this series promises to be one for the history books.
<< photo by Keith Johnston >>
The image is for illustrative purposes only and does not depict the actual situation.
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