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Tonight's game decides which team will face the Texas Rangers in the World Series


One-half of the World Series matchup was decided last night.


UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER: Grounder to second. Two years removed from losing a hundred, the Rangers have won the pennant.

SUMMERS: That was Fox with the call in Game 7. The reigning champion, Houston Astros, were defeated by the Texas Rangers. And the Rangers are now headed to the World Series. The eyes of baseball fans will all be on Philadelphia tonight for Game 7 between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks. We're joined now by Chelsea Janes, a national baseball reporter for The Washington Post. Chelsea, welcome back.

CHELSEA JANES: Thanks for having me.

SUMMERS: All right. For folks who missed last night's game in Texas, can you just give us a quick recap of what happened and the American League series?

JANES: You know, the Rangers and the Houston Astros played a really exciting series that ended last night with the Rangers winning a less exciting game by quite a lot to secure their trip to the World Series. That's a big deal because the Rangers in particular were not very good even just two, maybe even one year ago. So for them to have made this journey in one year and leap to the World Series is a very big deal.

SUMMERS: I want to talk about the Rangers for a second, though, because I was watching them in the postseason, and they've looked incredible.

JANES: They're very good. They're a very good team that spent a lot of money the last two off seasons to really build back up a team that wasn't very good. And it's always this debate in baseball. Does spending money actually work, and how is that as a building mechanism? Well, for the Texas Rangers, it was very effective. They added a lot of pitchers, including veteran Max Scherzer, who cost them a lot to get at this year's trade deadline. So they've got a lot of players on that team that haven't been there all along but have come together very quickly and, you know, made the most of the talent they've put there.

SUMMERS: So as we were mentioning, tonight is the final game of the National League Championship Series, and either the Phillies or the Diamondbacks will be facing the Rangers in the World Series. And I don't know. It seems to me like Bryce Harper is really leading the charge to get the Phillies back to the series. What do you think?

JANES: Absolutely. Bryce Harper has really found a home in Philadelphia and become just a masterful playoff performer. He's been really good for them. And, you know, I expect him to be here in Game 7. The Phillies have a lot of players, you know, with that kind of talent that Bryce Harper has. They are loaded. And they are playing a team in the Diamondbacks that I think have a lot fewer familiar names, a lot fewer stars but have somehow kind of just kept hanging on to get to this point.

SUMMERS: No matter who wins tonight, it will be the first World Series in seven years without the Los Angeles Dodgers or the Houston Astros making an appearance. So as we gear up for the first game of the World Series on Friday, what are you hoping to see in the series? What are you watching for?

JANES: You know, I think it's a fascinating series in many ways. One of them is Texas manager Bruce Bochy. He stepped away from the game for a long time after having a ton of success with the San Francisco Giants, came back and seemingly has not missed a beat. He's led the Rangers straight to the World Series. He's a really steady presence, someone that a lot of people on that team look up to. And the Rangers have a lot of star power. They've got a lot of talented players on whom they've spent a lot of money, and they're banking on those players who make the difference. And the Phillies are very similar. For them, if they get rolling, it's a tough challenge for anyone. So, you know, I think it's going to be a slugfest, a ton of star power, a lot of money spent, just a really good World Series matchup if the Phillies get there and kind of a really wild card one if it's the Diamondbacks because they're just a team that no one expected to be there and just a very unfamiliar group to most people who follow baseball casually.

SUMMERS: Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post. Thank you so much for being here.

JANES: Thanks for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Justine Kenin
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.
Juana Summers is a political correspondent for NPR covering race, justice and politics. She has covered politics since 2010 for publications including Politico, CNN and The Associated Press. She got her start in public radio at KBIA in Columbia, Mo., and also previously covered Congress for NPR.
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