Regardless of how game five ends tonight, there’s no doubt that what the Arizona Diamondbacks have done this season is anything short of success. From being a team that was expected to finish just above .500, to winning the NLCS and playing in the World Series for the first time since 2001, the last and only time the Diamondbacks won the World Series. But with recent play, fans are doubtful that they can make it happen again.
It was an up and down season for the Diamondbacks between early season pitching woes and an offensive slump shortly after the All-Star break, it had seemed Arizona cleaned things up a bit in the playoffs, sweeping the Brewers and Dodgers, and beating the Phillies in game seven of the NLCS to advance to the World Series. However, it seems that some of those slumps have returned during the Diamondbacks’ effort to win another championship.
Although the Diamondbacks put up a good fight in Texas splitting the first two games 1-1, the Serpents could not replicate things when they came back to the valley. Arizona dropped game three 3-1 with Brand Pfaadt on the mound to start and was headed into game four ready to run a bullpen game.
Many were hopeful that the success of the last bullpen game against Philadelphia would repeat itself, but those hopes were buried very early on as the Rangers grew to a 10-0 lead by the end of the 3rd inning in which the Diamondbacks used four pitchers between the 2nd and 3rd inning.
If there was one take away from game four, which felt like a blowout, other than the fact that the Diamondbacks did not play a great game, it’s that for the first time in the Postseason, Torrey Lovullo did not manage the bullpen well. Luvello pulled Right Handed Pitcher (RHP) Luis Frias after the 3rd inning, a guy the Diamondbacks usually send out in the later stages of the game, and put in RHP Ryne Nelson who was able to get things under control for the Serpents finishing with 5.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, and 6 K’s, no doubt that Nelson should’ve started the game in the first place.
Even though the pitching was rough and Arizona was stuck offensively, the Diamondbacks almost rallied at the 8th after Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit a three run homer in the bottom of the 8th but eventually fell short against the Texas Rangers losing 11-7.
But why have a bullpen game in the first place? The answer is the Diamondbacks don’t have enough starting pitchers on their roster. Although Arizona has looked good offensively, most notably Ketel Marte who set an MLB Postseason record for most consecutive hits at 20 and is continuing to grow that total, what the Diamondbacks have has not been enough to make up for the lack of effort on defense.
Though he hasn’t looked well in his last couple starts this postseason, Zac Gallen will take the mound for the Diamondbacks tonight in game five in what is now a win or go home situation for Arizona.
“We know we got our three starting pitchers lined up for the next three days. This is just where we’ve been as an organization to have to do something like this”, Torrey Lovullo told the media last night after the loss to the Rangers.
The Diamondbacks have not lost faith in their abilities to play the game, and neither should the fans. But regardless of what happens tonight out on the mound or in the batter’s box, fans should have something to be proud about.