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Diamondbacks Game Preview #128: 8/30 vs. Phillies

The D-backs go for a season-high fifth win in a row. But the Phillies are a tougher test than Zac Gallen has seen lately.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Today's Lineups

Kyle Schwarber - LF Josh Rojas - 3B
Rhys Hoskins - 1B Jake McCarthy - DH
Alec Bohm - 3B Ketel Marte - 2B
Bryce Harper - DH Christian Walker - 1B
Bryson Stott - SS Daulton Varsho - RF
Jean Segura - 2B Corbin Carroll - LF
Garrett Stubbs - C Alek Thomas - CF
Matt Vierling - RF Carson Kelly - C
Brandon Marsh - CF Geraldo Perdomo - SS
Aaron Nola - RHP Zac Gallen - RHP

Safe to say, tonight’s game will have to go some to reach the same orbit as last night’s. I woke up this morning and had to check the box-score to make sure I had not dreamed the entire thing. Yep: still the biggest comeback in the team’s 25-year history, covering more than four thousand contests. I suspect the current four-game winning streak likely went a long way to ensuring the exercise of Torey Lovullo’s option today. To finish 72-90 and reach the 20-game improvement mark we kinda drew, the team now only needs to go 12-23 down their remaining games. That would actually be their worst spell of the season, since they haven’t been below 13-22 over any 35-game span this year (most recently, just before the All-Star break).

If the D-backs are to reach the dizzy heights of a five-game winning streak - something they last achieved more than two seasons ago, winning six straight in mid-August 2020 - there’s no better person than Zac Gallen on the mound. He has not taken the L in 13 consecutive starts, dating back to the middle of June, and only has two all season. The only pitcher in team history with as few losses through their first 24 starts, is Robbie Ray, who was 6-2 through that point in 2018 (which actually represented Ray’s entire season!). The team are 15-9 in Gallen’s appearances this year, but almost all of those defeats are like last time out, when he tossed six shutout innings before the bullpen melted down.

Gallen has not allowed a run in his last four starts, covering a total of 27.1 innings, with a K:BB of 32:6 over that time. Opponents have an OPS of .354 there, with just two extra-base hits (both doubles) from the 94 batters he has faced. However, it has to be said the opposition Zac has seen, have not been great. By OPS+, the teams in the streak are all below average: Pirates (29th), Rockies (23rd), Giants (18th) and Royals (24th). Indeed, he hasn’t seen a better than normal line-up over his previous ten starts. That last time was June 28, when San Diego lit him up for six runs over five innings. The Phillies are ranked #10 - one slot above the Padres - so will likely present a sterner examination of Gallen’s talents as our “ace”.

Torey Lovullo audio

Torey Lovullo’s reaction to his extension today:

A humbled and grateful Torey Lovullo addressed the media today to discuss having his option picked up for the 2023 season, expressing gratitude to Mike Hazen and Ken Kendrick and Derek Hall. He said he was determined not to let them down.

“This is my home. My wife and I love the valley, I couldn’t think of a better position to be in with great ownership and great leadership. The rest is up to the players and they’re great players.”

Lovullo also thanked his coaching staff for the trust in him and the effort and work they put in.

“It’s not easy after you win 52 games and come out and talk about your philosophies working or wanting them to work, or expecting them to work. But this group believed in me and I got a chance to thank them each….. we’re moving forward. This organization has a lot of really good things to look forward to, but I want to make sure we’re not happy with where we’re at today. We’ve got a long way to go”

He also conceded that he is a different manager and person than he was 5 ½ years ago when he first came here. He mentioned that he is more willing to “get after” the players and coaches as needed.

Torey only found out about the option getting picked up today during a brief phone call with Mike Hazen around 10:30 this morning. Asked if he were given any specific reasons why they thought he deserved this honor he said not really, the conversations were very short. He went on to joke he must have a lot of good qualities.

Tune in to the audio to hear more about his thoughts on player development and the future of the team.