PHOENIX — Zac Gallen, the ace of the Arizona Diamondbacks, finds himself in unfamiliar territory. After a devastating loss in Game 4 of the World Series against the Texas Rangers, the Diamondbacks are now trailing 3-1. Despite this setback, Gallen will take the mound for Game 5 at Chase Field, facing the formidable Rangers lineup and the pressure of keeping his team’s playoff hopes alive.
Gallen has been a key figure in the Diamondbacks’ rise as contenders. Since joining the team in a 2019 trade, he has established himself as one of the game’s top pitchers. He received Cy Young votes in 2020 and 2022, and is expected to be a contender for the award again this season. With a 3.47 ERA in the regular season, Gallen has played a crucial role in the team’s success and will now be counted on to deliver in a must-win game.
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After Game 4, veteran first baseman Christian Walker expressed his unwavering faith in Gallen, stating: “He’s my guy. He’s our guy. Nothing but confidence, nothing but faith in him.”
Gallen’s workload has been immense this season. With 210 regular-season innings pitched, the second-highest in baseball, and an additional 27 1/3 innings in October, he has accumulated a total of 237 1/3 innings. This is the highest number of innings pitched by a pitcher in a season since 2019. Despite his ace status, Gallen has struggled in the playoffs, with a 5.27 ERA and surrendering at least two runs in each of his five postseason starts.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo acknowledged that Gallen’s performance in the playoffs has not been at his usual level, attributing it to the command of his pitches and secondary stuff. Gallen’s strikeout percentage has dropped from 26% in the regular season to 15.3% in the playoffs, and his walk rate has nearly doubled. The inability to rely on his four-seam fastball, which has resulted in increased usage of breaking pitches, has contributed to his challenges.
The Diamondbacks’ pitching coach, Brent Strom, believes that the wear and tear of Gallen’s high innings total is a factor in his struggles. Despite this, Strom is confident that Gallen will rise to the occasion and perform well in Game 5.
Despite the recent losses, Gallen remains confident. He believes that his performance in Game 1, where he left with a lead, was a positive sign. Gallen, known for his meticulous approach, continues to work on his craft between starts, maintaining his routine and striving for improvement. His dedication and routine have been an inspiration to his younger teammates, like pitcher Ryne Nelson.
Gallen acknowledges the challenge he faces in Game 5 but views it as the first of many postseason experiences. He sees himself having a long and successful career, with heavy workloads and meaningful games deep into October.
David Rodriguez brings the excitement of Major League Baseball to readers. With a deep appreciation for America’s pastime, he covers the latest MLB news, scores, and player achievements, keeping fans up to date with their favorite teams and players.