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The Texas Rangers are one win away from their first World Series championship ahead of Wednesday’s Game 5 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. After taking an early 10-0 lead in Game 4, the Rangers cruised to an 11-7 win and a 3-1 series lead. Texas is now an astounding 10-0 on the road during the playoffs, and if the Rangers can make it 11-0, they will win the World Series in five games. Of course, the Diamondbacks were 2-0 when facing elimination during the NLCS and will have the home crowd behind them Wednesday night as they attempt to avoid elimination and send the series back to Texas.
It’ll be up to ace Zac Gallen to help the D’Backs extend the series. After a strong start to the postseason, things have gone downhill for Gallen in his last three starts. He’s allowed 12 runs on 18 hits across his last three starts over 16 innings of work. He’s hurt himself with eight walks and five home runs during that stretch. It seems unlikely that Gallen will be able to turn things around against a Texas lineup that’s red-hot right now after scoring 11 runs in Game 4. Obviously, the absence of Adolis Garcia is noteworthy. But the Rangers are getting contributions from other parts of the lineup and won’t make it easy on Gallen, who could have a short leash in an elimination game, especially given his recent struggles.
Meanwhile, Nathan Eovaldi has a chance to put a cap on an exceptional postseason by helping Texas close out the series in five games. Of course, after going 4-0 over his first four playoff starts, the Diamondbacks knocked around Eovaldi earlier this series, scoring five runs on six hits over 4.2 innings against him. It was easily his worst start of the postseason despite striking out eight batters along the way. Keep in mind that Arizona was able to rally late and score seven runs despite being buried with a 10-0 deficit. That could help give the D’Backs a little momentum heading into Game 5, especially after having earlier success against Eovaldi.
The betting odds are virtually equal for this game with the over/under set at 8.5 runs, so just about any outcome is on the table. It’s too tough to choose between a Texas team that’s been perfect on the road and the resilient D’Backs, which makes us think the best bet is taking over 8.5 total runs. While Eovaldi and Gallen are both capable of pitching like frontline starters, both struggled earlier this series, showing signs of fatigue late in the year. That should open the door to a lot of runs, much like Game 4.
It’s worth noting that three of the four games in this series have ended with at least nine total runs. Seven of Arizona’s 16 playoff games have hit that number, while the Rangers have had nine total runs scored in nine of their last 10 games. While it would be great to pick a winner, the best bet in Game 5 is for a high-scoring game.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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