The Texas Rangers have had to deal with plenty of adjustments throughout the postseason as they attempt to win their first-ever World Series title, and perhaps none have been more crucial than the latest blow.
The team had to remove three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2019 World Champion Max Scherzer and ALCS MVP Adolis Garcia from its roster before Tuesday’s Game 4 due to injuries suffered on Monday.
The timing is unfortunate, but manager Bruce Bochy remains confident in his team as the series continues, partially because of the injuries it has already overcome this season.
“This team has dealt with it many times,” he told the media before Game 4. “It started early in the season. You go with deGrom. We lost Corey Seager for a while. We lost Doli (Garcia) [and] Jonah Heim. I could keep going there. I can’t say enough about the mental toughness, about this club and the resilience they have shown. They don’t get down. There’s no point in it. They understand you have to focus forward, and they’ve done that.”
Scherzer had suffered a muscle injury late in the season and recovered quickly enough to return to the ALCS. He made three starts during the Rangers’ postseason run after finishing the regular season with a 13-6 record and a 3.77 ERA. During Game 3, he took a groundball off the back and later exited with back tightness.
Garcia has been a spark plug for the Texas offense this season. In the regular season, he led the team with 39 home runs, and he picked up where he left off in the postseason, smashing eight home runs, including a walk-off that capped a late rally in the 11th inning of Game 1 of the World Series. He suffered a strained oblique on a swing late in Game 3.
Without two of their stars, the Rangers got a huge win on Tuesday, taking a 3-1 lead in the series to come within one game of their first championship. Travis Jankowski started for Garcia and came up with some big plays, going 2/4 at the plate with two runs scored and two RBIs while making a sliding catch to end the seventh inning.
Outfielder/infielder Ezequiel Duran, who hit .276 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs during the gular season, and relief pitcher Brock Burke have replaced Garcia and Scherzer on Texas’ World Series roster. Neither has appeared in the postseason, but the team expects them to be ready to play.
“When their number is called, they’ll be ready and go out and give everything they have,” executive vice president and general manager Chris Young told the media before Game 4. “It’s the World Series. You don’t have any other options. You go out and give your best. And those guys are champions, and they’ll be ready when their number’s called.”
Scherzer was slated to start a potential Game 7 in the World Series, and many assume his role will now be filled by Jon Gray, who also returned from an injury in the ALCS.
The Rangers will be World Series champions with a win.