Looking back on this glorious season, the Rangers’ improbably run to a World Series championship started with a 5-2 Friday night win in early June with an unlikely victory over the best team in the National League at the time, the Washington Nationals.
Andrew Cashner started his string of sixteen straight wins that vaulted him to the Cy Young Award, barely beating out teammate and Cy Young-runner-up Martin Perez. But that June 9 night was most notable for being the game in which AL MVP Rougned Odor started his torrential offensive onslaught, putting the team on his shoulders, and carrying them to the promised land by hitting the ninth of what would end up being 47 home runs.
Rangers manager Jeff Banister was criticized throughout the latter half of the season for using Keone Kela, Alex Claudio and Matt Bush in every single inning of relief, as they became the first trio of relievers in baseball history to log more than four hundred innings each, but he was vindicated with his second Manager of the Year award.
Looking back, going into that seminal game in June against the Nationals, few gave the Rangers any chance of turning around a season that had been, up to that point, an unmitigated disaster. Only a small group of devoted fans on an obscure website called RangersRounding3rd.com believed the Rangers could do it, and they were rewarded for their loyalty with the first World Series championship in Texas Rangers history, a sweep over the San Diego Padres.
In baseball, all it takes is one game to turn things around. And that game, for this team, was the 5-2 victory over the Washington Nationals in DC on Friday evening, the Ninth of June, 2017.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Martin Perez (2-6, 4.64) vs. Gio Gonzalez (5-1, 3.03)
Game time: 11:05