In one of the most surprising upsets of the 2023 season, the sixth seeded Arizona Diamondbacks snatched a Game 7 win and a trip to the World Series from the jaws of the Refuse to Lose Philadelphia Phillies. It wasn't a perfect set by any means, though — the Dbacks went down 2-0 early and then barely eked out two victories at home to stay alive.
The usually self-assured Diamondbacks looked spotty even when they came out on top, and some of their biggest names had bats that fell silent or threw pitches that were left hanging. Game 2 was the biggest blight, when Aaron Nola and the Philadelphia bullpen put together a shutout, and then the Phillies bats put up 10 runs for good measure. It was a preview for some shaky Diamondbacks pitching throughout the series, even and sometimes especially from their brightest stars.
There were a couple of notable exceptions; though he struggled in Game 2, Merrill Kelly's five innings and eight Ks in Game 6 kept the Phillies from roaring back to take the series, and rookie Brandon Pfaadt's 5 2/3 innings in Game 3 kept the Phillies down in an incredibly close, low scoring game across the board. In the closer role, Paul Sewald also saw only one hit and zero runs in four appearances.
Whose pitching performances need to improve for the Diamondbacks?
With Game 1 of the World Series just days away, Arizona's starting pitching and its bullpen all need to step it up if they're going to stand a chance against Adolis Garcia and the Texas Rangers. Like the Phillies, the Rangers win games by crushing the ball. If the Diamondbacks keep leaving curveballs hanging and giving up four pitch walks, there won't be much of a fight. Here are four Dbacks pitchers who need to get it together by Friday.