The 2023 World Series features a somewhat unexpected combination of the Texas Rangers facing off against the Arizona Diamondbacks as both entered through the Wild Card round and upset multiple high-powered opponents to reach the Fall Classic.
It was a less surprising feat for a Rangers club that relies on slugging to win games as they finished tied for third in MLB with 233 home runs and led the American League in runs scored with 881, trailing only the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers for most overall.
For the Diamondbacks, however, they have played a different style of baseball than most teams do now, relying on stolen bases and small ball to reach the World Series.
While many have had a negative reaction to the Diamondbacks representing the National League in the Fall Classic, Joe Davis, voice of the World Series on Fox, is embracing the chaos, via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
“In a perfect world, you get teams that rate really well,” Davis said. “But this is a great chance to tell some stories, and I think that it’s a great chance to feature a unique team, in Arizona. In this era of home run hitting, they’re a team that’s shown a different path forward offensively. Very quickly, I was able to get excited for it.”
The D-Backs finished second in MLB with 166 stolen bases in the regular season but led all postseason teams in that category. But more importantly, they ran the bases well, getting caught stealing just 26 times, which placed them tied for 18th in the league — the same amount as the Boston Red Sox that only stole 112 bases.
Aside from stolen bases, the Diamondbacks ranked around league average in nearly every offensive category as they finished the season tied for 14th with 746 runs scored. Only the Miami Marlins and Milwaukee Brewers scored fewer among playoff teams.
The Diamondbacks have continued to run in the postseason, stealing 21 bases compared to 10 from the Texas Rangers. The Phillies also stole 16 before being eliminated, and no other team had more than four.
As a team, the Diamondbacks have only hit .257/.322/.430 during their remarkable playoff run, but they’ve combined their small ball with timely hitting and good pitching to power their way to their second Fall Classic in franchise history.
Kiké Hernández praises Diamondbacks
While there is a lot of randomness to postseason baseball, it still takes talent to win in October, and when a team starts to get hot, they might just find themselves in the World Series even after a somewhat lackluster regular season.
During Game 1 of the NLCS, Kiké Hernández joined the “Peloteros” Broadcast on truTV and discussed what has fueled the D-Backs unlikely run.
“I mean, they ran through us,” Hernández said. “They’re hot, they’ve got momentum on their side. But I feel like every team that’s still alive has momentum on their side. This is a very young, hungry team that is extremely athletic on the offensive side, defensive side.
“They defend well, they run the bases really well, they can do the little things offensively but they can also slug. Their pitching staff, I think they have really good starting pitchers.
“And I feel like the bullpen gets overlooked a lot. They have quality arms that give you a lot of different looks. They’ve got some lefty sinkerballers and they’ve got sidearm righties. Every guy coming out of that ‘pen is completely different from the guy before, and I think that makes them really dangerous.”
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!