Diamondbacks trail series 1-0
Safe to say, this was not the start from Zac Gallen we wanted. The Phillies jumped on Zac quickly, with two home-runs in the first inning, and another in the second. Gallen ended up lasting five innings and allowed five runs. Arizona did get back in the game, with a two-run homer off the bat of Geraldo Perdomo. They then got the tying run to the plate more than once, but were unable to close the gap.
Full recap to follow, but I'm still at State 48. There may be drinking going on. I can neither confirm nor deny.
Safely back from State 48, where Mrs. SnakePit and I were hanging out with ish95 and Mrs ish94. That was, to be honest, rather more fun than the early innings of the game. Road Zac Gallen showed up with a vengeance, to the point where we wondered whether we might have been better off holding him back for Game 3. His homr/road splits during the regular season were staggering:
Home: 12-3, 2.47 ERA, 102 IP, 7 HR, 120:18 K:BB
Away: 5-6, 4.42 ERA, 108 IP, 15 HR, 100:20 K:BB
There’s no obvious explanation or answer for it, but we hoped it would not be a factor in the post-season after a solid outing in Los Angeles, settling down after a wobbly first inning to deliver 5.1 innings of two-run ball and get the win. We hoped Zac could build on that for his Championship Series start in Philadelphia. Those hopes lasted... /checks notes one pitch. Kyle Schwarber hit the first pitch he saw, 420 feet into the bleachers. It had an exit velocity of 117.1 mph. Gallen threw 3,436 pitches in the regular season and his first two playoff starts. Know how many of them had an exit velocity that high? None at all. The previous fastest was 113.8 mph by Ronald Acuna Jr.
Not exactly how we wanted things to start, but okay, shake it off, Zac. Except, one out later, Bryce Harper followed suit, going yard on another Gallen first pitch fastball. This one went exactly the same 420 feet, but its exit velocity was “only” 109.1 mph. The plan to keep the Phillies crowd quiet by containing their offense, had been derailed by Zac Gallen’s apparent insistence on leaving fastballs over the heart of the plate. With one out in the second, Nick Castellanos took advantage of - and stop me if you’ve heard this before - a fastball, for the Phillies third homer and a 3-0 lead. Below you’ll find the locations of all these homers. I couldn’t figure out how to filter them, but they’re the reddish-purple dots.
Yeah, it was a location issue which seemed to be at the heart of Gallen’s problems this evening, giving very professional hitters the kind of pitches they do not miss. While the Phillies stopped the barrage of long-balls after that, they were able to add another run in the third and one more in the fifth. Gallen’s night was done after that inning, having been tagged for eight hits and two walks over five frames, with four strikeouts and three home-runs. The B-bullpen then took over and, to their credit, continued the sterling work which Arizona relievers have delivered. Kyle Nelson, Miguel Castro and Luis Frias combined for three shutout innings of one-hit ball. You can’t ask for any more than that.
Arizona trailed 5-0 at the end of the fifth, and had managed just one base-runner to that point - a Corbn Carroll bloop single to lead off the top of the first. The Diamondbacks would probably have been forgiven if they had simply phoned things in the rest of the way, on the basis that it still only counts as one. However, they proved to be made of rather sterner stuff. The comeback started with Evan Longoria singling to left field. leading off the top of the sixth. Geraldo Perdomo then followed up with his second home-run in successive post-season games (below). Unlike last time, this did not lead to four home-runs in one inning, but did make it a 5-2 game.
Gratifyingly, it was much more the D-backs the rest of the way, to the extent it was likely squeaky bum time for the Phillies fans. Arizona got the tying run to the plate in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. In the seventh, Christian Walker walked, and then the Phillies’ defense did what the Phillies’ defense does, as reliever Seranthony Dominguez threw wildly past second on a comebacker, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Lourdes Gurriel, Alek Thomas and pinch-hitter Emmanuel Rivera weren’t able to get a hit, but Thomas did get the ball far enough into the outfield for a sacrifice fly. Walker scored and made things 5-3 to the Phillies, as the D-backs continued to inch closer.
Ketel Marte singled with one out in the eighth, making Tommy Pham the tying run, but he could only line out. Philadelphia then turned to Craig Kimbrel for the ninth, and a one-out walk to Gabriel Moreno, brought Gurriel to the plate as the potential tying run. But it was not to be. The team’s leader in hitting into double-plays this season did it again. and Philadelphia came away with the opener in the seven-game series. Arizona were held to four hits and two walks, with Gurriel and Pham each going 0-for-4 on the night.
Click here for details, at Fangraphs.com
King Arthur: Gabriel Moreno, +11.1%
The Black Knight: Zac Gallen, -23.2%
Brave Sir Robin: Lourdes Gurriell Jr, -19.4%
The Gameday Thread started off brightly, but for obvious reasons, that did not prove particularly sustainable. There were a decent number of Sedona Red comments though, the best of which belongs to kilnborn.
We’ll be back at it for Game 2 tomorrow, with Merrill Kelly on the mound. I’m glad that Arizona were able to make a fight of this one, demonstrating to Philadelphia that they will not be able to have the entire series their own way. If Kelly can prevail, we’ll be right back in the series as it returns to Arizona. Fingers crossed that proves to be the case. First pitch is at the same time, 5:07 pm.