Rangers Reveal Surprising Starting Pitcher Choice for World Series Game 1

The Texas Rangers have revealed their starting pitcher for Game 1 of the 2023 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Texas Rangers have revealed their starting pitcher for Game 1 of the 2023 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. / Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers have been incredible in October, and now they're going to the World Series with a chance to win their first championship in franchise history.

Since clinching their World Series berth with an 11-4 rout of the Houston Astros on Monday, the Rangers have been gearing up for the Fall Classic, which begins on Friday. They didn't reveal their starting pitcher for Game 1 until Wednesday, however, waiting until after the Arizona Diamondbacks announced earlier in the day that they'd be starting Zac Gallen.

Bruce Bochy's choice is a bit surprising, but not totally unexpected.

Rangers Game 1 Starting Pitcher

Bochy has chosen Nathan Eovaldi to start Game 1 at Globe Life Field on Friday, which represents a change in strategy from Texas' previous postseason series.

In the AL Wild Card Round, Bochy started Jordan Montgomery in Game 1 and Eovaldi in Game 2. Andrew Heaney started Game 1 of the ALDS out of necessity due to the quick turnaround, but Bochy returned to Montgomery in Game 1 and Eovaldi in Game 2 of the ALCS.

The veteran skipper is switching it up for the World Series, though, which is an interesting choice. Both pitchers are rested and ready to go, but Bochy apparently wants to give Montgomery an extra day to recover after throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings during Game 7 of the ALCS on Monday.

Starting Eovaldi in Game 1 allows Montgomery to go on normal rest in Game 2 on Saturday.

Eovaldi also has World Series experience while Montgomery doesn't, which may have been a factor in Bochy's decision as well.

Eovaldi previously helped the Boston Red Sox win the 2018 World Series and has been absolutely outstanding this postseason, so perhaps Bochy wants to reward him for that with the coveted Game 1 assignment. The veteran righty has won all four of his starts in the playoffs, going 4-0 with a 2.42 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 26 innings.

That's nothing new for Eovaldi, though, who's one of the best big-game pitchers of his generation. He's now 8-3 with a 2.87 ERA and a 2.71 FIP in October, while his teams are 12-3 in his 15 appearances.

The Rangers are obviously looking to kick off the Fall Classic with a win, and Eovaldi arguably gives them the best chance to do that.

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