Zac Gallen continued a worrying trend his last time out against the Blue Jays, struggling to get outs against a formidable Toronto offense. On the road across 10 starts, his ERA is a grotesque 5.11. His FIP tells another story, with a 3.95 value that shows he’s been a bit unlucky but still not the type of pitcher we expect from Gallen every 5 days. But once in the comfy confines of Chase Field, he’s a once-in-a-generation type pitcher, with a 1.48 ERA (2.01 FIP). Today’s outing was an even tougher challenge against the Braves, with their 61 wins clearing everyone in the league.
The challenge was hard enough as is, but the Braves were throwing their CY Young candidate themselves in Spencer Strider, who has been even more dominant than Gallen this year, striking out more than 14 per nine innings. And for a team that’s already secured a series victory on the road, you wouldn’t fault the team for punting this one.
Early on, both pitchers were outstanding. Thru 5 innings, Gallen was perfect. And while Strider allowed 2 hits, including a leadoff triple to Marte in the 4th, he struck out the side to strand the runner.
The 6th was where Gallen would falter, allowing a one-out homer to Orlando Arcia to give the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. And with Strider continuing to dominate - he was up to 13 strikeouts at this point - you had to wonder where to offense would come from. Corbin Carroll had other ideas.
A leadoff walk to Carroll started it off, and after Corbin’s 29th steal, a Christian Walker HBP backfilled the empty first base, and the other rookie Canzone up to the plate. He already cleared his MLB debut jitters with a single yesterday, and decided to keep it going, launching an 0-1 fastball to right field for a 3-run homer, his first of his career.
That wasn’t it for the offense in this inning, as they finally pounced on Strider mistakes, with Rivera following suit for his 3rd home run of the year, a solo shot to make it back-to-back homers.
That would end Strider's game, with 13 Ks and the 4 runs allowed across his 6 innings of work.
The offense wouldn’t get much else, a solo Corbin Carroll homer gave the D-backs their 5 runs on the game, but like always, some late-inning failures snatched defeat out of victory.
Austin Riley tripled in the 7th off Gallen, with Olson following for a homer of his own to make it 4-3. The aforementioned Carroll homer made it 5-3, and Gallen’s day was done after a great outing turned good with 7 innings and 3 runs allowed, and the lead.
But the bullpen! Wo the bullpen. Castro allowed a double sandwiched between two flyouts, but a walk to Albies set up Riley to take back the lead, and, well, you can imagine what happened.
His 4th of the series gave the Braves a 6-5 lead, and another homer from Matt Olson gave us our final score of 7-5. A disappointing game with a serious chance at a series sweep, but a series victory still works.
After a disastrous sweep by the hands of the Blue Jays, to come back and perform like they did against the Braves is a win. With both the Dodgers and Giants pushing the pace, the D-backs will need to keep it up against the slumping Reds, winners of 2 of their last 7 after the All-Star break.