Rangers pin hope on three ex-Yankees to beat Astros in ALCS

Three ex-Yankees helped a key rols in Texas' playoff push and their ALCS hopes too ride on them.
John Allen
Thursday October 12, 2023

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After 11 years of wait, the Texas Rangers are set to play in the American League Championship Series. As they face the formidable Astros, the team hopes to ride on the success of three former Yankees pitchers, who played a key role in their campaign so far.

These ex-Yankees players in the Texas rank played a key role in their regular season that ended in a 90-72 record and second place in AL West. They trounced the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 in the Wild Card contest to enter the playoffs for the first time since 2016. The Rangers booked their ALCS berth on Tuesday with a 3-0 sweep of the Orioles, which was also powered by another ex-Yankee.

Rangers look to Montgomery to power them vs. Astros

The Yankees perhaps made a big mistake when they traded starter Jordan Montgomery. The southpaw was sent to St. Luois for center fielder Harrison Bader because they doubted Montgomery’s ability to pitch effectively and secure victories in the postseason. Montgomery expressed his gratitude for leaving the Yankees.

Ex-Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery

Judging by what the Yankees received from the injury-prone Bader, who was let go before the season’s conclusion, and Montgomery’s performance afterward, it’s evident that the Yankees made a significant misjudgment in that trade.

For the Rangers, he was 4-2 in the regular season with a 2.79 ERA. The former Yankees pitcher helped Texas beat the Rays 4-0 in Game 1 following excellent seven scoreless innings.

Texas hopes big from ex-Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi

nathan-eovaldi-new-york-yankees
Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer

Nathan Eovaldi, a right-handed pitcher who the Yankees dumped despite his impressive 23-11 record over two seasons in the Bronx. However, he has emerged from his two arm surgeries and dismissed any uncertainty following his missing of the entire 2017 season. Eovaldi has compiled a 41-27 record, earning two AL All-Star selections and winning a World Series with the Red Sox in 2018.

The former Yankees pitcher was 12-5 with a 3.63 ERA for the Rangers during the 2023 season. But his best came up in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles. He rose to the occasion in a playoff-clinching game, rewarding Texas for acquiring him mid-season as they now move one step closer to a World Series berth. Eovaldi delivered a masterful performance to lead the Texas Rangers past the Baltimore Orioles 7-1. He was in command through seven stellar innings, limiting Baltimore’s offense to just one run while Texas’ bats provided plenty of support.

The Heaney factor

LHP Andrew Heaney had trouble preventing home runs during his time with the Yankees in 2021 and he surrendered 13 long balls in just 35.2 innings. But his performance in 2023 for the Rangers was 10-6 with an ERA of 4.15. The Ex-Yankees pitcher started the ALDS Game 1 and held the Orioles to just two hits in the first four innings retiring eight hitters. This proved crucial in the Rangers’ 3-2 victory.

Montgomery, Eovaldi, and Heaney are all in a state of readiness and they could emerge as the starting pitchers for the Texas Rangers in the opening four games of the American League Championship Series when they face off against the Houston Astros in their quest for a World Series berth.

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