D-backs' Zac Gallen prepares for World Series Game 5, tries to shake mediocre postseason

Tue, Oct 31, 2023
MLB News (AP)

D-backs' Zac Gallen prepares for World Series Game 5, tries to shake mediocre postseason

PHOENIX (AP) - Brandon Pfaadt's quick improvement on the mound has been critical for the Arizona Diamondbacks in the postseason, and Merrill Kelly's been rock solid, delivering multiple excellent outings, including his most recent in a Game 2 win during this World Series.

As for ace righty Zac Gallen? He's been just OK.

It's been a disappointing postseason for the All-Star as he prepares to take the mound for Game 5 against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night. So far in October, he has a 2-2 record and a 5.27 ERA.

"We've got to remember that Zac spoils us," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said Tuesday. "He goes out there and goes five, six, seven innings every single time. And inside of that, he might give up two or three runs, but we're so used to him giving up zero or one runs."

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Gallen has been competitive in his five postseason starts, throwing at least five innings in all of them. But he's also given up 13 earned runs over the past 16 innings while surrendering five homers.

The hope during this postseason was that Gallen and Kelly would make a formidable combo. So far, Gallen hasn't been able to deliver his part.

The 28-year-old had a 17-9 record and 3.47 ERA during the regular season and is among the top candidates for the NL Cy Young Award, which will be announced in November. The Rangers have not announced a starting pitcher for Game 5, though right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is in line for the start after pitching Game 1.

Lovullo said Gallen's postseason problems mostly stem from a lack of command, particularly with his secondary pitches.

"He can't just walk out there and get the job done because of his name," the manager said. "It's the time of year where everybody's really, really good and really and really prepped.

"Just gotta be more efficient with his pitches, where they land and sequence them in the right way. And he's working on that right now."

Gallen has endured the largest workload of his career in 2023, throwing 237 1/3 innings in the regular season and postseason combined. Even so, he said Tuesday that he feels good, throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session on Monday as he keeps working on his craft.

One more chance remains to deliver a postseason gem.

"Until the final bell rings, I'm going to keep plugging away and see what the deal is with my delivery," Gallen said. "It might not be the greatest thing to be throwing as much as I am, but it's what makes me feels prepared and eases me mentally."

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

DAVID BRANDT Sports Reporter based in Phoenix twitter mailto "
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