Rangers grind vs. Glasnow, capitalize on Rays' errors to win Game 1

October 4th, 2023

ST. PETERSBURG -- Nobody hit more home runs in the American League in 2023 than the Rangers' 233.

But the long ball has been hard to come by over the past week, with Texas’ last homer coming in the fourth inning of Friday’s loss to the Mariners. It’ll come around eventually, it always does, manager Bruce Bochy said, but in the meantime, the Rangers need to figure out how to get runs across without hitting it out of the park.

That’s exactly what they did on Tuesday at Tropicana Field.

The Rays recorded four official errors, plus a wild pitch that scored a run, and the Rangers capitalized to beat Tampa Bay, 4-0, and take Game 1 of the best-of-three AL Wild Card Series.

Rookie outfielder Evan Carter, MLB Pipeline’s No. 8 overall prospect, led the way with two doubles, two full-count walks and a stolen base out of the nine-hole as Texas forced error after error on Tampa Bay's defense.

At 21 years and 35 days, Carter is the second-youngest player in Rangers history to appear in a postseason game, older than only Jurickson Profar in the 2012 AL Wild Card Game (19 years, 228 days). Carter is also the second-youngest in franchise history with a postseason hit, behind Profar in that same series.

Veteran shortstop Corey Seager, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, described Carter as "fearless," and credited the rookie’s confidence and ability to produce in big spots.

In his first test, Carter delivered.

“We actually kind of made that a point -- for me, at least -- today just to be like, ‘All right, postseason. We need to make sure we're calm, cool and collected in the box especially,’” Carter said. “It's hard to do that, but I'm going to do my best to do that, and hopefully keep it rolling the whole series.

“It's still a baseball game, same rules, all that. [Rays starter Tyler Glasnow is] an incredible pitcher, and we knew that coming in. Just game plan the best that you can, prepare the best that you can. We did a good job of that today.”

Texas knocked Glasnow out of the game after the right-hander allowed five walks and six hits over five-plus innings and worked a number of long at-bats and full counts to put pressure on him.

“I saw the same thing,” Bochy said of Texas’ scrappy at-bats. “You have to look at who we're facing. He's got really good stuff. He's got a big fastball and breaking stuff along with the changeup. You don't expect them to hit a lot of home runs when you're facing a pitcher like that. He did a great job of keeping the game in check. We had some other chances to add on, but they did a good job of keeping that game close.”

Despite knocking Glasnow out early, Texas’ offense squandered a few opportunities to tack on more runs throughout the game.

The biggest missed opportunity came in the fifth inning, when Texas had the bases loaded and no outs and then again had the bases loaded with one out, but the only run that scored that inning was on a wild pitch.

In all, the Rangers went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, leaving 13 on base in a game they could have swiftly turned into a blowout with one big hit.

“[Glasnow] is tough,” Seager said. “We tried to grind as much as we could off of him. Props to him for making pitches when he needed to and getting out of some spots. I felt like we were close [to more runs] a couple of times, but we grinded as much as we could.”

Trade Deadline acquisition Jordan Montgomery was stellar for Texas on the mound, scattering six hits with five strikeouts and no walks over seven scoreless innings. He helped himself escape the Rays’ best scoring threat in the second when he made a great diving grab on Jose Siri’s bunt attempt with runners on the corners.

Montgomery threw more innings on Tuesday (seven) than he did his entire career in the postseason previously (6 2/3).

The Rangers’ bullpen, which has struggled this year, closed out the game without incident. Aroldis Chapman struck out one in a 1-2-3 eighth, and José Leclerc worked around a two-out walk in the ninth.

“It was a great job by the club,” Bochy said. “A well-played game, and it obviously starts with Monty. Another great effort he gave us on top of his game. He had a four-pitch mix, throwing strikes. Terrific job and good at-bats. Much better at-bats, longer at-bats that help extend some pitches there. It was a well-played game by us.”