Aces return for D-backs, Phillies in NLCS Game 5
Posted on: 21 Oct, 2023 at 06:18 AM
Credit: Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK
PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies each used eight pitchers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Friday, a contest won by the Diamondbacks behind a three-run, eighth-inning rally.
With so many arms needed in Arizona's 6-5 victory that tied the best-of-seven series at two wins apiece, both managers are counting on their aces to come through with lengthy performances on Saturday in Game 5.
The Diamondbacks' Zac Gallen (17-9, 3.47 ERA regular season; 2-1, 4.96 postseason) will oppose the Phillies' Zack Wheeler (13-6, 3.61 regular season; 2-0, 2.37) in a matchup of right-handers.
"I couldn't think of a better starting pitcher to have (Saturday) knowing that Zac is going to be walking in here and will give us as many pitches as he possibly can," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "Then at the back of that, we're going to piece together the bullpen the best way we know how.
"I'll tell you right now, it's a three-game series, and everybody is going to be available. Like I said, if you want it bad enough, you're never tired."
The Game 5 starters also pitched the series opener, a 5-3 home win for the Phillies.
Gallen allowed three runs in the first two innings, all on solo home runs. He lasted five innings, giving up eight hits while striking out four and walking two.
"That's a few days ago," Gallen said Friday when asked to reflect on his performance. "It's on to whatever today is, Friday, getting ready for Game 5. It's a short-term memory, whether it's good or bad."
In the postseason, Gallen beat the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers before losing at Philadelphia. He is 3-1 with a 2.22 in five career regular-season starts against the Phillies.
Wheeler got the win in Game 1 win against Arizona after permitting two runs on three hits in six innings, with eight strikeouts and no walks.
In 11 career regular-season starts against the Diamondbacks, Wheeler is 6-3 with a 2.96 ERA.
Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson was asked after the Friday loss if he was concerned about using his relievers again Saturday after going deep into the bullpen.
Veteran right-hander Craig Kimbrel took the losses in Game 3 and Game 4. He gave up a walk-off single to Ketel Marte on Thursday and was charged with three earned runs in Arizona's eighth-inning rally on Friday.
Pinch hitter Alek Thomas delivered a two-run home run that tied the game at 5, and Gabriel Moreno later hit the tiebreaking single off Jose Alvarado.
Jeff Hoffman, Orion Kerkering, Kimbrel and Alvarado all pitched in Game 3 and Game 4 for Philadelphia.
"We'll check in with (the relievers) and see how many guys we've got available," Thomson said. "We're certainly not going to put people in jeopardy, but this is a tough group, and they want to play."
Lovullo mentioned the support from the Chase Field crowd and having a "chip on their shoulder" is keeping his team energized.
"I know that guys are going to step on it, stand on it, find a way to get it done," Lovullo said.
--Javier Morales, Field Level Media