It’s a Wild Card battle with a ring on the line, as the Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers meet in the 2023 World Series. And what better way to try and suss out which team might have the edge than to look back at their previous meetings?
As interleague opponents, Arizona and Texas don’t have a ton of history against one another this season. But they did play a pair of quick two-game sets, so let’s look at how those played out.
Diamondbacks vs. Rangers history
2022 regular season
Game 1, May 2: Rangers 6, D-backs 4
This was Texas’ lone win in this season series, and it came in their first meeting of the year. Zac Gallen took the ball for Arizona opposite Rangers righty Jon Gray, but neither starter pitched particularly well. The D-backs jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, but Texas kept chipping away, knocking out Gallen with two runs in the fifth before touching up Arizona’s bullpen for two more in the sixth and one in the seventh. (Of note, the two relievers responsible for that meltdown, Kyle Nelson and Scott McGough, won’t be playing substantial roles in the World Series.)
Game 2, May 3: D-backs 12, Rangers 7
The second game of this two-game set in Texas was another slugfest, but this time it was the Rangers’ bullpen that would give up a late lead. Texas starter Andrew Heaney was shelled for six runs on four hits and four walks in 4.2 innings of work. He was let off the hook, though, as a five-run fifth against Pfaadt — making his first career MLB start — put the Rangers back in front. But the trio of Josh Sborz, Jose Leclerc and Ian Kennedy gave up six runs across the seventh and eighth to give Arizona a series split.
Game 3, August 21: D-backs 4, Rangers 3 (11 innings)
This one, on the other hand, was a pitchers duel, with eight shutout innings from Jordan Montgomery sending Texas to the ninth nursing a 1-0 lead ... only for Aroldis Chapman to immediately give up a game-tying homer to Ketel Marte. The Rangers took the lead again with two in the top of the 11th, but again the bullpen couldn’t close the door: Will Smith gave up a double to Geraldo Perdomo and a single to Tommy Pham, and just like that, the D-backs had a 4-3 win.
TOMMY PHAM WALKS OFF THE RANGERS pic.twitter.com/cHD7EeVKeY— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 22, 2023
Game 4, August 22: D-backs 6, Rangers 3
Arizona secured the season series in more conventional fashion the next night, behind a sensational effort from Gallen — who struck out 11 in six innings of one-run ball. The D-backs bullpen tried to let Texas back in it late, but Ginkel and Sewald slammed the door on a 6-3 win.
Record all-time and in MLB postseason
Despite a 3-1 edge this season, the D-backs still trail the all-time series with the Rangers 25-28. Granted, that’s a pretty small sample size: Arizona didn’t exist as a franchise until 1998, and given the vagaries of interleague play the two teams met just six times between 2000 and 2012.
Friday’s Game 1 will also be the first time these two franchises meet in the postseason. Again, that’s understandable: They’ve been in opposite leagues for Arizona’s entire existence, and they’ve only reached the World Series a combined three times. The D-backs met the Yankees in 2001, winning in seven games, while the Rangers lost a pair of Fall Classics to the Giants in 2010 and the Cardinals in 2011.