Previewing the Texas Rangers' tenth series of the season: Arizona Diamondbacks
By West Jones
The calendar has turned to May and the Texas Rangers still find themselves in sole possession of first place in the AL West with a record of 17 - 11. The Rangers will be hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks for a short two-game series at home starting tonight and finishing up tomorrow afternoon. The Diamondbacks have a record of 16 - 13 and are only 0.5 game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West. Both teams come into tonight's contest by going 5 - 5 for their last ten games. The Rangers do have a three-game winning streak on the line as they took the last three contests against the Yankees over the weekend.
Date and Time
Rangers Probable Pitcher
D-backs Probable Pitcher
Tues 2nd - 7:05 CT
Jon Gray - RHP 1-1, 3,91 ERA, 17 SO
Zac Gallen - RHP 4-1, 2.15 ERA, 51 SO
Wed 3rd - 1:05 CT
Andrew Heaney LHP 2-2, 4.38 ERA, 26 SO
Zac Gallen will head to the hill on Tuesday night for Arizona. Gallen has quietly become one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. He came into the season as one of the top candidates for the NL Cy Young award, and he has done nothing but move up that list. In six games and across 37.2 innings pitched, Gallen has recorded 51 strikeouts, walked only five batters, has a 2.15 ERA, and a 0.770 WHIP. Much like facing Gerrit Cole in game one of the Yankees series last week was a daunting task, going up against Gallen will prove to be a challenge. Gallen is on quite a roll, as he hasn't allowed an earned run in his last 28.1 innings pitched. The Rangers will look to jump on him early and break that impressive streak.
The pitching matchup for Wednesday's afternoon game is still partially up in the air. The Rangers will send Andrew Heaney to the mound, but it is still not official as to who the Diamondbacks will counter with. Merrill Kelly is the pitcher in the Diamondbacks rotation that should be starting, but as of this writing, he still hasn't been named the official starter. If Kelly is the guy that gets the ball tomorrow, he is yet another formidable opponent. This season in six starts and 32.1 innings pitched, he is 2 - 3, with 30 strikeouts, a 3.06 ERA, and a 1.299 WHIP.
Much like Rangers' fans are starting a Rookie of the Year (ROY) watch for Josh Jung, the Arizona Diamondbacks have their own ROY candidate on their roster. In fact, Corbin Carroll is leading the charge for ROY honors in the NL at the moment. He did run into the wall on Saturday night and missed Sunday's game so we will have to see if the rookie phenom will be in the lineup against the Rangers. The 22-year-old has excelled in all phases of the game over the first month of his rookie campaign. He is hitting .309/.374/.536, has four home runs, a 147 OPS+. The Diamondbacks are tied for eighth in MLB for stolen bases this season with 25 and Carroll leads the way with 10, The Rangers are currently tied for 24th in swiped bags with 15.
Diamondback shortstop Geraldo Perdomo has been playing at a high level this year. In 2022, the now 23 year-old struggled mightily at the plate slashing .195/.285/.262. This season is a different story. Perdomo went and played a little winter ball in his native country, the Dominican Republic after the 2022 MLB season and appeared to find his swing. That has carried over into the first month of the 2023 MLB season as he is batting .383/.456/.617 with an OPS+ of 192. He is doing all of this offensively while playing a solid shortstop for Arizona.
As we have talked about previously, the Rangers will be on the road for much of May. In fact, they will have 19 road games compared to just eight home games during the month. It would be good to set a positive tone for the month and at least get a split in the short two-game series with the Diamondbacks to kick off a tough stretch in the 2023 schedule.