Rangers turn to playoff ace Nathan Eovaldi for Game 1

Chris Torres/

The Texas Rangers’ best postseason pitcher will be on the mound on Friday for Game 1 of the World Series.

“You can never take it for granted,” said Nathan Eovaldi who will face the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 1 at Globe Life Field (7:03 p.m. first pitch, FOX TV).

Eovaldi has been nothing short of magnificent in the playoffs. The Houston native has a 2.42 ERA in the postseason and has won all four of his starts while only issuing four walks in 26 innings.

Eovaldi won the World Series in 2018 with the Boston Red Sox but his most memorable moment of that playoff run was an extra innings loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

However, Eovaldi said that loss isn’t something that drives him going into this World Series.

“Obviously, I’m very grateful for the past experience and just being able to participate and get into the World Series is big and, you know, I kind of had my moment there. but coming in having game one trying to set the tone for the team, there’s a lot of pressure with that, but there’s also a lot of excitement and I’m definitely ready for this opportunity,” said Eovaldi.

Eovaldi will take the mound against a Diamondbacks team that scored the fewest runs of any team in the playoffs despite playing one more game than the Rangers.

The Diamondbacks excel at making contact and running the base paths. Arizona has led the postseason in stolen bases and Rangers catcher Jonah Heim said the team will be ready for the challenge.

“So, the key for us is to not get in too much of a rhythm and just mix things,” said Rangers catcher Jonah Heim. “Use our picks accordingly and we just keep a good mix.”

Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said the Diamondbacks’ athleticism is apparent.

“What stands out, athletic, very athletic. Put the ball in, play, run like hell, don’t sacrifice, power contact. They’re just trying to use their legs, not a bad way to do it, kind of old school, old school baseball,” said Maddux.

Maddux stressed that taking care of the minor details would be key.

“Keep ‘em of base No. 1. The little things are not little, they seem little against some teams that don’t run, but the teams that do run now, it’s a big thing. So we paid attention to the little things all year, you know, starting in spring training, you know, nitpicked the little things,” said Maddux.

Eovaldi said he’ll approach the first game of the World Series just like he would any other start with his routine and preparation and try to last as long as he can for the Rangers.

He’s been anything bout routine in the postseason. He is 4-0 in his postseason starts, the most ever by a Texas pitcher in the postseason.

Evoaldi is just the seven major league pitcher in postseason history with four straight quality starts (pitching six innings and allowing three runs or fewer) in a single postseason.