|Kyle Schwarber - DH||Corbin Carroll - RF|
|Trea Turner - SS||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Bryce Harper - 1B||Gabriel Moreno - C|
|Alec Bohm - 3B||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Bryson Stott - 2B||Pavin Smith - DH|
|J.T. Realmuto - C||Lourdes Gurriel - LF|
|Nick Castellanos - RF||Alek Thomas - CF|
|Brandon Marsh - LF||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Johan Rojas - CF||Geraldo Perdomo - SS|
|Zack Wheeler - RHP||Zac Gallen - RHP|
After nine games of the play-offs, eight Arizona players had started every time. The only variation was the final spot, which had been split between Alek Thomas (7) and Emmanuel Rivera (2). However, there is a further change for tonight’s game at Chase Field, with Pavin Smith starting at DH over Tommy Pham. This is the kind of move which, at certain points in the regular season, would have caused a meltdown on social media: Smith might have been close to the biggest offensive scapegoat all year. But now? Well, in five plate appearances this post-season, he has gone 3-for-4 with a walk, and in key situations. His WP is +13.8%, which ranks fifth on the team, despite very limited playing time.
Meanwhile, Pham has struggled mightily of late, going 1-for-13 with six strikeouts in the series. He’s not alone though: Christian Walker is also 1-for-13, and our lord and savior Corbin Carroll is even worse, being 1-for-15. However, Christian has been taking his walks (his on-base percentage is .294) and Carroll has been putting the ball in play, with just one strikeout. With such a lack of offense from two of our most productive players in the regular season, it’s all the more impressive the D-backs are even in the series, and have a chance to move to within one game of the World Series. Mind you, that final win would need to come in Philadelphia, which won’t be easy...
However, let’s cross that bridge when and if appropriate. Tonight, we get to see if the Zac Gallen narrative remains true to form. In Philadelphia, he wasn’t very good, allowing eight hits - three of which left the park - and two walks in five innings, leading to five earned runs. We’ll need considerably better tonight, going up against Zack Wheeler, who did a very good iob of shutting us down until the sixth inning. The Phillies bullpen is little if any less taxed than ours is - and there’s wasn’t even a bullpen game - so getting into that as soon as possible would certainly be helpful. But after what has happened in the first four games, I can offer no more predictive comment than “Watch this!”