The postseason belongs to the Texas Rangers so far.
The boys from Arlington are the first to punch their ticket to the Championship Series after downing the Baltimore Orioles, 7-1, on Tuesday night, sweeping them in the best-of-five ALDS.
The Rangers have used the long ball all year long, and that didn’t change one iota on Tuesday. Corey Seager opened up the scoring with a solo shot in the first inning, and in the second inning following a Mitch Garver two-run double, Adolis Garcia launched a three-run jack to make it a 6-0 ball game. Nathaniel Lowe added a solo homer in the seventh.
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Nathan Eovaldi hardly needed to pitch a gem, but he did so for good measure anyway, tossing seven innings of one-run ball while striking out seven. He’s allowed just two earned runs in 13.2 innings of work this postseason (1.32 ERA).
The Rangers bullpen struggled all season, and that continued on Tuesday. Aroldis Chapman relieved Eovaldi, but loaded the bases. That prompted Bruce Bochy to go to Jose Leclerc early, and he induced a groundout to Aaron Hicks to get out of the threat. Leclerc then retired the side in order in the ninth to clinch the victory.
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Orioles starter Dean Kremer was tagged for the six runs in just 1.2 innings of work, but he deserves praise for taking the bump in an elimination game on the road, as he was pitching with a heavy heart.
Kremer is Israeli-American. Though he was born and raised in Stockton, California, Kremer is the son of Israeli parents. He spends time each year in the Jewish state, is fluent in Hebrew and was the first Israeli to be taken in the MLB Draft. He has family overseas that are living in constant fear of their lives. Kremer pitched for Team Israel in their lone victory in March’s World Baseball Classic.
The Rangers are now 5-0 this postseason after sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Series – AL East teams went 0-7 in this postseason (the Toronto Blue Jays were swept by the Minnesota Twins in the wild card round.
The Rangers now await the winner of the Houston Astros and Twins – the defending World Series champs took a 2-1 series lead earlier Tuesday.
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It’s Texas’ first ALCS appearance since 2011. If Houston wins, it will be the first time since 2008 that American League division rivals will face off in for a chance to play in the World Series.