It's a World Series matchup that few predicted before the season began as the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks will begin the 2023 Fall Classic inside Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Friday night.
Both teams earned road wins in Games 6 and 7 to advance to the World Series, proving that both franchises are built for big moments. Both teams are also proving that preseason projections aren't always what they are cracked up to be.
Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks blow away PECOTA preseason predictions
Granted, when the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies both took 3-2 leads back to their respective home ballparks to finish out League Championship Series play, it seemed we may have a rematch of last year's World Series. However, both Texas and Arizona have been proving people wrong since even before the season began, so perhaps it shouldn't be a huge surprise that the Rangers are back in the World Series for the first time in 2011 while Arizona returns to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2001.
Flash back to the preseason for just a moment, though. You know, back to the time when many thought it would be the New York Mets and San Diego Padres battling for supremacy in the National League. You remember that, right? Well, those were the same moments when PECOTA projections had the Diamondbacks finishing with a 74-88 record (the same mark they finished the 2022 season with) while the Rangers were projected to end up a little better than Arizona, coming in at 78-84.
Of course, neither of those records would have qualified for the postseason, but both teams blew past those forecasts, with Arizona finishing 84-78 and Texas coming in at 90-72.
Now two teams projected to finish way out of the playoffs will battle for the World Series title. It's a lesson maybe we should all remember next February when all of the preseason projections begin to roll out.