Marcus Semien and his Texas Rangers busted the brooms out on their way to sweeping the Rays in the Wild Card round, despite him only going 1-for-9 in the series and 2-for-17 overall in his last three games.
If Semien can break the skid and join his other teammates in the party at the plate, they have a chance to defeat the Orioles.
Elation was spread across the face of the 2021 MLBbro.com Player of Year as he and his teammates dosed themselves with champagne after their victory over Tampa Bay.
“I do not wear the goggles,” Semien told reporters during the melee. “When you get the burn of the champagne in your eyes, it means you did something good.”
Wednesday afternoon Texas, who has finished with a record under .500 for the past six seasons, including going 68-94 in Semien’s first year with the team, won its first playoff series since current Atlanta Braves third base coach Ron Washington managed the 2011 team to the World Series after winning the ALCS in Tampa.
It was an all-around dominating effort for the Rangers who won both games by a combined total of 11-1, allowing the only run the Ray scored in the series to come in the 8th inning of Game 2.
Rookies stole the show at the plate for Texas.
Outfielder Evan Carter introduced himself to the world by reaching safely in his first six postseason plate appearances, capping the final one of those six off with a two-run back-breaking homer to extend the lead to four in Game 2.
All-Star third baseman Josh Jung, who has molded his work ethic around Semien and the other members of their star studded infield had a great series himself with a triple and a pair of doubles.
The Orioles, who had the best regular season record in the American League are a different animal than the one the Rangers just slayed and if they want to advance past them into the Championship Series, they will need more from Semien at the plate.
Semien Struggled Against Baltimore This Season
In six games against Baltimore this year Semien was 5-for-25 with a .200 average, three RBI and a double.
Granted it has been a few months since these teams met, we will find out this weekend if the O’s figured out the code to crack the American League hits leader.
One factor I think will determine the series is how fast the Rangers start, particularly in the first two road games of the series.
Baltimore has been resting while Texas picked up a wave of momentum with their beatdown of Tampa.
If Semien, who hit a franchise record 10 leadoff Bro Bombs this year and became the fifth leadoff hitter in MLB history to reach 100 RBI can get the party started early, the Rangers can take a stranglehold of the series and take the crowd out of the equation.
Game 1 will be played Saturday afternoon in Camden Yards at noon central time.