The Texas Rangers are once again in the playoffs. It is the franchise's ninth trip to the playoffs and first since 2016. They will be playing in the wild-card round against Tampa Bay. Texas was last playing in this round in 2012 when they took on the Baltimore Orioles. They played in the first AL Wild Card game that season. It will be a competitive series with the line between these teams being thin.
Tampa comes into the series having won 99 games this season and finishing as the runner-up to the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. Tampa has had to endure a similar road to the Texas Rangers. They have dealt with several injuries throughout the season, most of them pitching injuries. They dealt with a high-profile story of Wander Franco being placed on administrative leave back in August. Yet they continued playing a consistent brand of baseball throughout this regular season. Tampa is a team that has a great offense and a good starting pitching staff. Tampa like Texas has had to deal with an inconsistent bullpen.
Texas enters this series having won 90 games on the season and losing the division on the final day of the regular season. They won 68 games in 2022 and 60 games in 2021 and are now back in the playoffs. They also have had to survive several injuries throughout the regular season. Jacob deGrom, Corey Seager, Josh Jung, Nathan Eovaldi, Max Scherzer, and now Jon Gray have all missed significant time throughout this season. Texas still perservered and is now back in the playoffs.
The margin between these two teams is thin despite what their records say. Offensively Texas and Tampa Bay are third and fourth or second and third in most categories. The starting rotations have the 5th and 7th ranked ERAs in baseball. Their bullpen diverge in ERAs as Tampa is 11th and Texas is 24th. Tampa does have 31 blown saves compared to Texas' 33. I think when it comes down to it these four matchups will determine who wins this series.