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Rangers rip through a 3-1 Series lead, leaving Arizona with a daunting task


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    November 1st, 2023

    PHOENIX -- Somehow, saying their backs are against the wall doesn’t seem like a strong enough description for what the D-backs are facing after an 11-7 loss to the Rangers in Game 4 of the World Series on Tuesday night.

    They now trail the series 3-1 with Game 5 set for Wednesday night at Chase Field and Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) back in Arlington.

    In all best-of-seven postseason series, teams holding a 3-1 edge have gone on to win the series 78 of 92 times (85%). The most recent team to rally from 3-1 down was Corey Seager’s 2020 Dodgers, against the Braves in the NL Championship Series. The most recent to do so in the World Series was Aroldis Chapman’s 2016 Cubs, who snapped their infamous title drought by winning Games 6 and 7 at Cleveland.

    There is no margin for error, there is no wiggle room. It’s win or go home for the next three games.

    “We've had better days,” outfielder Tommy Pham said. “I mean, when you're down one to three like we are, you can understand the mood of the locker room right now. So the only thing we can do is try to win every game now.”

    To do that, they’ll have to figure out a way to avoid giving up early runs and certainly not as many early runs as they allowed Tuesday, when the Rangers scored five runs in the second and five in the third to go up 10-0 before the D-backs had even batted around.

    The D-backs went with a bullpen game, similar to what they did against the Phillies in Game 4 of the NLCS. They won that game, getting favorable matchups when they needed to against the tough Phillies lineup.

    They thought they could do the same against the Rangers on Tuesday, but things went sideways in a hurry.

    “The challenges are to get the right matchups and get the right pieces in place,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We felt like we did that. We just didn't execute. You could see what happened. They had their top three hitters have three at-bats before the bottom of our order had one at-bat. That's unacceptable.”

    The D-backs have played with their backs against the wall plenty of times this year.

    There was the last month of the season, when they battled down to the second-to-last day before securing the final NL Wild Card spot.

    Then there was the NLCS, when they lost the first two games in Philadelphia, including Game 2 by a 10-0 margin. They ended up heading back to Philadelphia down 3-2 and won Games 6 and 7 to clinch their World Series berth.

    But this is an even steeper mountain to climb. They have to find a way to win three straight against a Rangers team that is 10-0 on the road this postseason and -- despite losing one of their top hitters, Adolis García, to injury -- has a potent offense.

    “It certainly does help,” Pham said of the experience against the Phillies. “But we’ve put ourselves in a very tough, tough spot right now. So it's going to take a lot.”

    The D-backs did have something positive to take away from the evening -- they shut the Rangers offense down for the most part after the third inning while scoring six runs in the final two innings and making Texas manager Bruce Bochy use his closer, José Leclerc.

    Meanwhile, the D-backs have all of their leverage pitchers rested and ready to go for Game 5, and they have ace Zac Gallen on the mound.

    “We’ve got to play as loose as we can,” closer Paul Sewald said. “If we lose a game, our season is over, but we can’t really think about that. We just have to try to take it one inning at a time. We’ve got to try to win the first inning tomorrow. We cannot win three games in a row in one inning. Just do our best to try to slow things down and take it inning by an inning, a third by a third, try to win tomorrow and get on a flight and go to Texas and see what happens there.”

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