The Bible says in Proverbs that patience is a virtue. In game two the Rangers and especially Corey Seager were very virtuous. One of our series previews mentioned that Texas could exploit its edge in experience by being very patient, working counts, and taking walks. Most of the Orioles' staff has never pitched this deep into the season and it certainly showed in game two. Texas' willingness to not chase confounded Grayson Rodriguez and every other pitcher the Rangers faced till the sixth inning. Texas' walks in this game directly led to big innings in the second and the third innings and helped Corey Seager establish a new postseason record.
Texas walks lead to a five-run second inning
Jordan Montgomery was not as sharp as he has been over the last month. He allowed two runs in the first inning on an Aaron Hicks two-run double. Texas came to bat trailing for the first time this postseason. They had an opportunity in the first when they loaded the bases, but could not score. In the second Nathaniel Lowe led off the inning with a walk from Grayson Rodriguez. Rodriguez had already walked two in the first inning. Lowe was his third walk.
Texas had already faced Rodriguez twice this season and had plenty of success against the right-hander. In April he gave up two runs in five innings. In May he gave up eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. Texas was very familiar with Rodriguez and what he offered.
Lowe took the third walk of the game and he was followed up by Josh Jung who moved him to third on a single. Taveras then had the first big hit of the game when he drove a ball to deep left center field that scored both Lowe and Jung and tied up the game.
That was not it in the second inning. Corey Seager then drew a walk to extend the rally. Mitch Garver then came up and hit a Baltimore chop ground ball that he beat to first for an RBI-infield single. Adolis Garcia followed up with a single that scored a run. Jonah Heim had an RBI single that inning. That was it for Grayson Rodriguez. He had given up five runs in 1 2/3 innings and walked four. That started the parade of relievers that Texas would face.
Danny Coloumbe came in and ended the inning after those five runs and 10 batters came to the plate with a strikeout of Nathaniel Lowe. That would not be the end of Texas exhibiting a patient approach.
Texas walks to another big inning in the third
Montgomery responded with a shutdown inning in the bottom of the second. Texas came up to bat up 5-2. Bryan Baker was brought in the game. He has been a good reliever in an outstanding Baltimore bullpen. One issue he has had in both the majors and in his time in the minors is walks. He had 24 walks in the majors. He also had that issue in the minors as he had five walks in his September appearances for the Norfolk Tide.
Baker came in for the third inning with the Orioles trailing 5-2. He immediately got Jung to fly out to lead off the inning. Then he walked Taveras, Semien, and Seager to load the bases with one out. Then instead of Robbie Grossman coming up it was Garver. The regular season primary DH had been on the bench in the first three postseason games. Garver got his first start in game two. He had the RBI infield single in the second. This time against Baker, Garver did this.
Garver hit the second grand slam for the Texas Rangers in their postseason history. The other grand slam was the walk-off slam hit by Nelson Cruz in game two of the 2011 American League Championship Series. This slam gave Garver five RBIs in the game through just three innings. It gave Texas a 9-2 lead.
Texas would go on to win 11-8. The bats certainly woke up and provided several big hits in this game. Texas also did walk 11 times in this game. Not every walk came around to score. Walks in this game drove up Rodriguez's pitch count and forced to pitch in the zone which led to five runs. Walks loaded the bases for Mitch Garver. Walks led to the Rangers picking up a win and going up in the series 2-0 and coming home with a chance to sweep on Tuesday night.
Corey "Walker Texas Ranger" Seager
Postseason baseball has been played in several forms since 1900 when the first World Series was staged. Thousands of games have been played in those 123 years. Corey Seager today set a record for walks in a single postseason game. Prior to today 11 players in postseason history had walked four times in a game. Seager with his walk in the ninth became the first player in history to walk five times in a single postseason game.
Seager is not known for his ability to draw walks. He is known as a more aggressive type of hitter. He is a free swinger who is not afraid to attack the first pitch of an at-bat. Seager in his career has more hits and more home runs on the first pitch than in any other count. This season Seager drew 49 walks in 477 at-bats. The most walks he had drawn in a single game in 2023 was three. He did that against the Angels at home on June 12th. Seager does have a good eye, but is normally not patient enough to take that many walks.
Seager today decided to contribute by seeing pitches and taking walks. He saw 37 pitches total in this game, the most of any Texas Ranger. Evan Carter actually finished second with 27. It appears that it will not matter who is hitting after Seager. The Orioles' strategy appears to be to not give Seager much of anything to hit. They would rather be careful with Seager and attack whoever is hitting third and then Garcia. The good thing about game two was that the lineup as a whole was very productive and Seager's 0-1 with five walks helped lead to runs. It will be interesting in game three to see if the Orioles adjust their strategy and if Seager receives better pitches to hit.
The Texas Rangers now come home and have a chance to clinch a postseason series at home for the first time since 2015 when they had two opportunities to close out the Toronto Blue Jays. Globe Life Field will be loud all night long as fans hope Nathan Eovaldi can deliver this team to the ALCS for the first time since 2011.