The Texas Rangers have claimed a 2-0 lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS. After eliminating the Tampa Bay Rays in two games, the Rangers again went into enemy territory and picked up two more wins. The first game was a one-run victory by a score of 3 to 2. The second one was a walk and slugfest that ended with the Rangers out in front 11 to 8.
In this exercise, we are going to take a look at three good things we have learned about the Rangers thus far in the ALDS, along with two that we wish weren't true. So, let's first dive into the favorable issues, before getting into a couple of negatives that have raised their ugly heads.
Texas Rangers Josh Jung and Evan Carter are ready for the big stage
Rookies generally don't have great postseasons in their first shot at October baseball. That is not so for a trio of Rangers rookies, Josh Jung, Evan Carter, and Cody Bradford.
Josh Jung was on track to contend for the AL Rookie of the Year award this season before a broken thumb dashed those ideas. When he came off the IL and pushed himself back into the lineup, he struggled at the plate. That is not the case so far in this ALDS. In the first two games, he is hitting .375/.444/.875, has scored three runs, driven in one, has a double, and a home run that happened to be the game-winner in Game 1. Jung has also made some outstanding defensive plays at the hot corner, thus further proving that the bright lights don't bother him.
After an ALWC that saw Evan Carter grab the attention of baseball fans worldwide, how would the 21-year-old handle the mounting pressure? Like a grizzled veteran. His numbers in the first two ALDS games are slightly off his previous two playoff performances, but they are still outstanding. In nine plate appearances he is slashing .333/.556/.500, has scored one run, drove in one, has a double, and has walked three times. And he has done all of this after being moved from the nine hole to the fifth spot in the batting order. The kid is made for big moments.
Bradford was not on the active roster in the ALWC but found himself in the middle of the fight Sunday afternoon in Baltimore. When the Rangers jumped out to a big lead--and with Jordan Montgomery struggling--it was apparent that someone was going to need to eat some innings. Manager Bruce Bochy called on the rookie lefty, and he came in and didn't disappoint. Bradford went 3 2/3 innings pitched, limited the Orioles to three hits, zero runs, struck out four, and got credited with the win.