As we head to Arizona for the next three games, the World Series looks like this:

Texas 1 - 1 Arizona

Here are tonight's starting pitchers:

Texas: Max Scherzer (13-6, 3.77 ERA in 27 starts for the Mets and Rangers)

Arizona: Brandon Pfaadt (3-9, 5.72 ERA in 18 starts)

Pfaadt has been huge for Arizona in the post-season. As we pointed out yesterday, for most of the year the D-backs have only had two good starting pitchers. Pfaadt has become their Game Three and Game Seven guy. He hasn't won games for them, but he's not getting shelled. In four starts he has only thrown 16 2/3 innings, so he usually goes about four innings per start. He has no wins or losses, but his ERA is only 2.70, which means that he's keeping Arizona in the game.

Texas would like Scherzer to play a similar role, but he just hasn't been able to do it. In two starts, he's only lasted 6 2/3 innings. He's 0-1 with a 9.45 ERA.

Last week, when I picked the Rangers in five, I was counting on their deeper batting lineup and Bochy's excellence as a manager. But the D-backs appear to have better starting pitching, and that could be a big problem for Texas.

Pfaadt was absolutely critical to the D-backs in the NLCS. The D-backs threw 61 innings in that series, and just over half (31 1/3) were thrown by Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and Brandon Pfaadt. Here's how they did:

ReplyDeleteGallen: 11 innings pitched, ERA of 7.36

Kelly: 10 2/3 innings pitched, ERA of 4.22

Pfaadt: 9 2/3 innings pitched, ERA of 1.86

The D-backs also got a tremendous performance from their three good relievers: Ryan Thompson, Kevin Ginkel, and Paul Sewald. Here's how they did:

ReplyDeleteThompson: 5 2/3 innings pitched, ERA of 1.59

Ginkel: 4 2/3 innings pitched, ERA of 0.00

Sewald: 4 innings pitched, ERA of 0.00

So together they threw 14 1/3 innings, allowing only 1 Earned Run, for an ERA of 0.63. That more than made up for Gallen's poor performance, and allowed the D-backs to prevail over the Phillies despite being outscored in the series 30-21.

Of the 30 runs allowed by the D-backs, 9 were given up by Gallen in his two starts (both losses), and another 13 were given up by pitchers I haven't mentioned. So the Phillies only got 8 runs against Kelly (who allowed 5), Pfaadt (2), and the good relief pitchers (1). So while Arizona had some blowout losses (10-0 in Game Two and 6-1 in Game Five), those didn't matter -- when the D-backs were in a close, competitive game, they had pitchers who could do the job.

ReplyDeleteBut this all depends on Pfaadt. If he puts up his usual four scoreless innings today, the D-backs will probably win, because Scherzer will probably struggle. But if Pfaadt get shelled, the D-backs will have to go to their lesser relief pitchers, and Texas will probably blow the game open, like it did in Game Seven against the Astros.

ReplyDeleteTexas, on the other hand, rode its two best starters to victory over the Astros. Check out these numbers:

ReplyDeleteJordan Montgomery: 14 innings pitched against Houston, 1.29 ERA, record of 2-0

Nathan Eovaldi: 12 1/3 innings pitched, 3.65 ERA, record of 2-0

The rest of the Rangers staff combined to go 0-3 with an ERA of 6.38. But Bochy could afford to lose three games and still advance, and that's exactly how he played it.

In this series, of course, the Rangers have already lost a game started by Montgomery. That was Game Two. Somehow Bochy has to find a way to make up for that loss. One possibility is that tonight, Scherzer does better than he has been, and Pfaadt gets shelled.

ReplyDeleteThe legend of Brandon Pfaadt continues to grow, as he sets down Texas 1-2-3 in the top of the 1st.

ReplyDeleteArizona gets a walk but nothing more, and there is no score after 1.

ReplyDeleteEvan Carter, the wunderkind from East Tennessee, is batting cleanup -- the fourth youngest cleanup hitter in World Series history. He strokes a single to lead off the second.

ReplyDeletePfaadt quickly gets a double play and a fly out, and the inning is over. Still no score after 1 1/2 innings.

ReplyDeleteChristian Walker leads off the bottom of the second with a ringing double.

ReplyDeleteTommy Pham raps a single to right, but Adolis Garcia throws out Walker at the plate. One out. Pham goes to second on the throw.

ReplyDeleteScherzer gets Gurriel to pop up, and then Thomas grounds out to third. After 2, we still have no score.

ReplyDeleteFor the Rangers, Nate Lowe leads off the top of the 3d with a double.

ReplyDeletePfaadt retires the next two batters, but Marcus Semien hits a two-out single to score Lowe. Rangers lead 1-0.

ReplyDeleteAnd now Corey Seager hits a two-out, two-run homer into the right field seats, and Texas leads 3-0. So the Rangers have gotten to Pfaadt.

ReplyDeletePfaadt strikes out Garcia to end the inning, but the Rangers still lead 3-0 after 2 1/2.

ReplyDeleteGame One of the World Series, which went 11 innings, lasted 4:02. Game Two ended in 2:59.

ReplyDeleteIn the bottom of the third, Corbin Carroll draws a two-out walk, but Scherzer retires Ketel Marte to end the inning. After three, the Rangers lead 3-0.

ReplyDeleteTexas now has an 81.1 percent chance of victory. If you're the D-backs manager, do you use any of your good pitchers here, or do you concede this game and save everyone for tomorrow?

ReplyDeletePfaadt is not finished -- he retires the Rangers 1-2-3 in the fourth. That's huge because he is giving the D-backs a chance to get at Scherzer before the game is truly out of reach.

ReplyDeleteWell, Scherzer is hurt and cannot go for the fourth inning. The Rangers turn to Jon Gray (9-8, 4.12 ERA in 29 starts).

ReplyDeleteSo far, Gray has only thrown 2 2/3 innings in this post-season. He's 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in those innings.

ReplyDeleteGray retires the D-backs 1-2-3, and the Rangers lead 3-0 after 4.

ReplyDeleteNot wanting to use any other pitchers, the D-backs send Pfaadt back out for the 5th.

ReplyDeleteIn an exhibition game tonight, Kentucky Wesleyan beat U of L 69 to 68.

ReplyDeletePfaadt gives up an opening walk, but pitches around it. Rangers lead 3-0 after 4 1/2.

ReplyDeleteIn 2015, the first year they appeared in the ACC, the Louisville Cardinals went to the Elite Eight and lost to Michigan State in overtime. Since then, the Cardinals have only won a single game in the NCAA Tournament -- and that was back in 2017. They haven't been to the tournament since 2019.

ReplyDeleteIn seven tries, U of L has never won more than one game in the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament. The Cardinals' all-time record in the ACC Tournament is 3-7.

ReplyDeleteAnd, of course, in 2018 the NCAA vacated U of L's 2013 NCAA Title -- the only time that's ever happened.

DeleteSo I don't really think the whole ACC thing has worked out for Louisville basketball.

DeleteAnd Louisville's not the only one. Pitt joined the ACC for the 2013-14 season. Since then, Pitt has only won two games in the NCAA Tournament.

DeleteLast year, Pitt finished the year as the number 59 team on Ken Pom. That's Pitt's highest rating since 2016.

DeleteGray retires the D-backs in order. Texas leads 3-0 after 5. The Rangers now have an 86 percent chance of victory.

ReplyDeletePfaadt comes out for the 6th. He retires Corey Seager but walks Garcia, and that's all for his night. In 5 1/3 innings, he gave up 4 hits and 3 earned runs, and he's responsible for a runner at first.

ReplyDeleteThe new pitcher is Miguel Castro (6-6, 4.31 ERA in 75 appearances), who was last seen giving up a game-winning homer in the bottom of the 11th in Game One.

ReplyDeleteCastro gives up a single, but then retires the next two batters. Texas leads 3-0 after 5 1/2.

ReplyDeleteThe D-backs get a two-out single from Marte, but that's all. Texas leads 3-0 after 6.

ReplyDeleteTexas now has an 89 percent chance of victory.

ReplyDeleteFor the 7th inning, Arizona goes with Kyle Nelson (7-4, 4.18 ERA in 68 games). So far, he's only thrown 3 1/3 innings in the post-season.

ReplyDeleteNelson retires the Rangers in order. The D-backs have done a good job of keeping this game close without using any of their best pitchers. Texas leads 3-0 after 6 1/2.

ReplyDeleteFor the bottom of the 7th, the Rangers bring out Josh Sborz (6-7, 5.50 ERA in 44 games). The ESPN guys tells us that he is the Rangers' preferred choice to pitch the 7th.

ReplyDeleteSborz gets Walker to ground out, but then Pham drives a double to center field.

ReplyDeleteSborz strikes out Gurriel and Thomas, and Pham is stranded. Texas leads 3-0 after 7.

ReplyDeleteNow Texas has a 92.7 percent chance of winning.

ReplyDeleteFor the 8th, the D-backs use Luis Frias (1-0, 4.06 ERA in 29 appearances).

ReplyDeleteI'm not sure it matters who Arizona sends out to pitch. The Rangers are batting as if they have a table booked somewhere, and they don't want to miss their reservation.

ReplyDeleteSure enough, the Rangers go down 1-2-3. Still 3-0 going into the bottom of the 8th.

ReplyDeleteUh-oh.

ReplyDeleteGarcia made the last out in the top of the 8th, and is in some sort of pain. Garcia is pulled for a defensive sub. But obviously, if Garcia isn't healthy, that would be a problem for Texas.

ReplyDeleteTexas brings in Aroldis Chapman (6-5, 3.09 ERA in 61 appearances) to pitch the 8th.

ReplyDeleteIt feels as though Aroldis Chapman has played in every World Series since the McGwire-Sosa home-run summer.

DeleteHe has appeared in 43 post-season games for the Reds, Cubs, Yankees, and Rangers. Remarkably, however, he has only appeared in two World Series -- this one and the 2016 Series where he almost blew it for the Cubs.

DeleteHis post-season record is 3-4 with an ERA of 2.27 and 10 saves in 42 appearances.

DeleteI've never forgiven Aroldis Chapman for giving up the home run to Kirk Gibson in the 1988 World Series.

DeleteEmmanuel Rivera, pinch hitting for Longoria, doubles to right to begin the 8th.

ReplyDeletePerdomo singles to left, Rivera scores. And now the D-backs get to bring up the top of their order with no one out. Texas 3, Arizona 1.

ReplyDeleteOn ESPN radio, they say that Bochy would pull Chapman now, but under the rule Chapman has to face three batters. So now Corbin Carroll comes to the plate as the tying run.

ReplyDeleteBut Chapman strikes out Carroll. So Bochy decides to let Chapman face Marte.

ReplyDeleteMarte has been devastating in the post-season. And he immediately rifles the first pitch to short. The ball was going 114 mph off the bat. Thanks to great play from Seager, Semien, and Lowe, the Rangers appear to have turned an inning-ending double play. But it's close. We're going to a video review.

ReplyDeleteWhile the Arizona fans wait, the stadium plays "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by Elton John and Kiki Dee. But that's what the umpires do. They confirm the 6-4-3 double play, and the inning is over.

ReplyDeleteAfter Perdomo's single, the Rangers had a 75 percent chance of winning. Now they have a 92.2 percent chance.

ReplyDeleteWhat a great play by Seager. That ball looked like a single for sure. And he not only stopped the ball, but started a double play. That was huge.

ReplyDeletePhenomenal play. This guy is getting into the Hall of Fame before our very eyes.

DeleteThere's a bunch of nonsense taking place in the top of the 9th. Frias walked Carter. Then Garver flew out to center, thanks to a great leaping catch at the wall by Thomas. But then we had an appeal about whether Carter had failed to touch second on his way back to first. And then we had a challenge about how often Frias could throw to first. And now, with two outs, we are going to change pitchers. The D-backs bring in Andrew Saalfrank (0-0, 0.00 ERA in 10 games), because I guess he has to appear in every game.

ReplyDeleteSaalfrank retires Lowe, and the Rangers are done. After drubbing the best pitchers in the American League, the Rangers' bats have been fairly quiet in the last two games.

ReplyDeleteOK, so the Rangers turn to Jose Leclerc (0-2, 2.68 ERA in 57 appearances). He has three saves in the postseason so far.

ReplyDeleteMoreno should have walked, but the fourth ball was called a strike. That put Moreno into a full count, and then he grounded out to third. One out.

ReplyDeleteWalker strikes out. Two out.

ReplyDeleteLeclerc strikes out Pham, and the Rangers win 3-1. Texas now leads two games to one, and they remain undefeated on the road in the post-season.

ReplyDeleteGray is the winning pitcher; Pfaadt gets the loss. Leclerc gets the save.

ReplyDelete