D-backs trust in rookie Brandon Pfaadt, Rangers in veteran Max Scherzer
Posted on: 29 Oct, 2023 at 05:46 PM
Credit: Rob Schumacher / USA TODAY NETWORK
PHOENIX -- The World Series moves west to Phoenix on Monday with the host Arizona Diamondbacks having earned a split, thanks to a 9-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night in Arlington, Texas.
The underdog Diamondbacks potentially were two outs from a sweep of Games 1 and 2 were it not for the Rangers' Corey Seager hitting a game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning in Friday's opener. The Rangers rallied for a 6-5 win in 11 innings, but it was all Diamondbacks in Game 2 on Saturday.
Monday's Game 3 will feature three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star Max Scherzer starting for Texas. Rookie right-hander Brandon Pfaadt, in turn, will make the fifth postseason start of his career (all this year) for Arizona.
Scherzer, 39, is 0-1 with a 9.45 earned run average in two postseason starts against the Houston Astros this month. He has totaled 6 2/3 innings this postseason, but he has pitched 140 innings over 29 career playoff appearances (24 starts) with a 7-8 record and 3.86 ERA.
"He could give us length. I've talked to him about this. He's comfortable pretty much throwing like he normally does," Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. "Maybe not quite as long as he's been over 100 pitches, whatever, but pretty close."
Pfaadt has been a revelation for the Diamondbacks and manager Torey Lovullo, who tabbed the 25-year-old to start Game 7 of the National League Championship Series in Philadelphia last week. Pfaadt delivered, allowing two runs in four innings.
Pfaadt, in Game 3 of the NLCS with his team facing a 2-0 series deficit, shut out the Phillies on two hits with nine strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings. Arizona won that game at Chase Field.
"You want to be as consistent as possible, and I think that's where the routine comes into play, and just follow that to a ‘T' and trust your ability," Pfaadt said after Game 2.
The Diamondbacks got four hits from designated hitter Tommy Pham in Game 2 on Saturday. Second baseman Ketel Marte, after years in relative obscurity with Arizona as a hitter, extended his playoff hitting streak to a major league record 18 games. The world also is getting to see what makes rookie outfielder Corbin Carroll one of the game's more dynamic players.
"It's something that you dream about as a kid. I would say, I would definitely think throughout, if my career would end in, let's say, a few years from now, I would say that I dreamt about playing ... in the World Series," Pham said. "I don't think we play this game without the intentions of winning a World Series, especially when you have a team that you feel like you have a special group that could compete for a World Series."
Rookie outfielder Evan Carter, 21, is 3-for-9 in the World Series for the Rangers. Two months ago, he was playing for the Rangers' Double-A affiliate.
"That feels like three years ago at this point," Carter said. "Time's flown by. It's crazy that it's almost November now. This is the farthest I've ever played baseball before. But where else would you rather be?
"This is every ball player's dream. This is where you want to be at and the stage you want to play on. So, gosh, how fun is this? This is great."
--Jose M. Romero, Field Level Media