Zac Gallen threw a quality start in his first career playoff game, the Diamondbacks’ upbeat offense rallied after their promising young catcher sustained a concerning injury and their bullpen locked things down (again), as the franchise won a playoff series (not including a one-game wild-card round) for the first time since 2007.
Here’s more from Arizona’s 5-2 win over Milwaukee in Game 2 at American Family Field.
What we’ll remember
Another dominant performance from the D-backs bullpen. After Tuesday night’s 6.1 shutout innings from Arizona’s relief corps, the bullpen picked up where it left off.
Down 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Brewers threatened to claw back into the game when Christian Yelich and William Contreras led off with back-to-back singles. But right-hander Kevin Ginkel and rookie southpaw Andrew Saalfrank combined to record three outs and escape the jam, in a confident display of what the D-backs bullpen can achieve in high-leverage situations. Paul Sewald, fresh off his first career playoff save Tuesday, successfully closed out Game 2 to send the Brewers packing.
Game 2 MVP
This was really a collective effort, but Ketel Marte made the biggest play. The D-backs’ best opportunity to rally came in the sixth inning and they capitalized. Geraldo Perdomo drew a leadoff walk against the strong but suddenly scuffling Freddy Peralta, and Corbin Carroll followed with a double to right.
With two runners in scoring position, Marte delivered a two-run single to give the D-backs a 3-2 lead. Arizona, which also had to rally to win Tuesday, was now just 12 outs away from advancing to the NLDS.
Gabriel Moreno was removed from Wednesday’s game with what the D-backs called a head injury after Brice Turang hit the catcher on his backswing. Turang’s follow through struck the catcher on the side of his head. The game was delayed for several minutes while a trainer spent time examining Moreno. After drinking some water, Moreno remained in the game for the remainder of the second inning, but was finally removed to begin the third. He was replaced by backup catcher Jose Herrera.
Depending on how long Moreno will be out, this developing situation could have huge implications for the D-backs. Moreno has been valuable for the D-backs all year. In Tuesday’s Game 1 win, the 23-year-old became the youngest catcher to homer in the postseason since Buster Posey in Game 4 of the 2010 World Series, per MLB researcher Sarah Langs.
What surprised us?
How about the Brewers getting swept out of the playoffs after they won the NL Central with 92 wins? Milwaukee entered the series with home-field advantage and the stronger rotation. But with dynamic ace Corbin Burnes faltered Tuesday after giving up a trio of home runs, his rough September trickling into the postseason. On Wednesday, Freddy Peralta looked poised to send this wild-card series to a Game 3 as he carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning, only to cough up four earned runs before his outing was over.
The Brew Crew was built on pitching, but the cracks started to show before the first pitch of the series was even dealt. Brandon Woodruff, the Brewers’ initial Game 2 starter, was forced off the wild-card roster with a shoulder injury. The Brewers didn’t sweat it because they believed this series could be wrapped up before a winner-takes-all Game 3. They were right, but they were on the wrong end of this short series.
The young and fun Diamondbacks will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS beginning Saturday at Chavez Ravine. With Merrill Kelly not being used in the wild-card round, the Arizona righty will have gone one full week between starts ahead of his presumed Game 1 nod in L.A. The Dodgers will also have had a prolonged absence from game action. Will there be any rust against a pitcher they’ve traditionally hit really well? L.A will also be looking to exorcise the demons from last year’s NLDS exit at the hands of the fellow division rival Padres.
Deesha Thosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the Mets as a beat reporter for the New York Daily News. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Deesha grew up on Long Island and now lives in Queens. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.
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