|Marcus Semien - 2B||Corbin Carroll - RF|
|Corey Seager - SS||Ketel Marte - 2B|
|Adolis Garcia - RF||Gabriel Moreno - C|
|Evan Carter - LF||Christian Walker - 1B|
|Mitch Garver - DH||Tommy Pham - DH|
|Jonah Heim - C||Lourdes Gurriel - LF|
|Nathaniel Lowe - 1B||Alek Thomas - CF|
|Josh Jung - 3B||Evan Longoria - 3B|
|Leody Taveras - CF||Geraldo Perdomo - SS|
|Max Scherzer - RHP||Brandon Pfaadt - RHP|
Almost 22 years since the last World Series game in this park, the D-backs will take the field here once more, facing the Rangers. The series is tied 1-1, after two games in Texas, so this game is pivotal. It’s basically a best of five, and going one down will leave the loser with precious little room for error the rest of the way. Arizona is bringing out its big guns, with the winner of that last World Series game, Randy Johnson, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, alongside the man who had the walk-off hit, Luis Gonzalez. The resonance does not need to be stated. Hopefully, Brandon Pfaadt will turn in a Big Unit-esque performance - Johnson was 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA that series.
Pfaadt made his debut against these Rangers in early May, and it did not go well. He allowed seven runs over 4.2 innings, on nine hits and a walk, including a quarter of homers. But there might as well be a different pitcher on the mound tonight. Brandon has gone through a trial by fire since then, and has been forged into a very different man. Though he has yet to record a decision this post-season, the D-backs have won all four of his outings. Pfaadt has a 2.70 ERA over 16.2 innings, with a K:BB ratio of 22:3. And that has included three outings against the #2 (Dodgers) and #3 (Phillies) ranked offenses during the regular season. Just keep throwing quality strikes, as he has, and Pfaadt will be fine.
On the other side, there’s Max Scherzer. former Diamondback, now coming towards the end of a long and successful career. Since leaving Arizona, there have been eight All-Star appearances, and three Cy Young awards, winning in both the American and National Leagues. But he’s now 39, and had a 9.45 ERA in his two starts during the ALCS against Houston. Just a couple of years ago, this would have been a tough challenge, but now, it feels like he can be hit. This could well end up seeing the bullpens of both sides get the majority of outs. depending on how things unfold. It’s potentially going to be a fascinating game, and I’m really looking forward to it.