I’m sorry for anyone who loves to watch a slugfest. Last night was anything but.
Arizona’s 2-1 victory last night was in many ways improbable. Not only were they down 2 games in the series (NLCS) but they were down 2 games in dramatic fashion. Game 1 saw them trail by 4 runs through 3 innings and game 2 saw them put up a goose egg while simulationsely losing by 10.
Every ounce of momentum the Diamondbacks conjured up (from the previous postseason game) was quickly stripped from them as they geared up for a monumental game 3. What Arizona needed was for someone to step up and step up in a big way.
Enter rookie Brandon Pfaadt…
Diamondbacks #1 star: SP Brandon Pfaadt
I mean what can you even say?
Pfaadt was beyond lights out last night. According to Baseball Savant, Pfaadt finished the game with a +33.3 WPA (Win Probability Added). He was without a doubt the star of the show for Arizona.
He finished the game with a line of 5.2 innings pitched, 2 hits, 0 runs, and 9 strikeouts. Not bad for a guy that finished the regular season with a 3-9 record and a 5.72 ERA.
The Phillies have been rolling and to be honest, they looked like they wouldn’t be stopped. Thankfully, Pfaadt was the dam that stopped the rushing water. A game 4 win from Arizona would make things very very interesting.
Diamondbacks #2 star: LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
It’s crazy to me how a player can look like Barry Bonds and a single-A hitter in the same season. But hey, put your hands together for Barry… I mean Lourdes for coming up clutch in a massive way last night.
The first 6 innings of the game were pretty ugly for the D-backs offense. Philadelphia's Jose Alvarado looked like he was pitching to a team of high schoolers and even when Arizona did get runners on base Alvarado was able to easily escape jams.
The team looked deflated as they were quickly running out of outs. But then, Gurriel Jr. flipped the script in the bottom of the 7th. With a runner on first and no outs, Gurriel laced a double down the left-field line and tied the game at 1.
Not only did Loudres tie the game, but from a momentum POV, he breathed life into a dead Arizona club.
Gurriel Jr. finished the game with 2 hits, 1 RBI, 1 walk, and a WPA of +32.4.
Diamondbacks #3 star: 2B Ketel Marte
You can make a case for Marte being the 1st or 2nd star, but I have him at #3.
Marte racked up 3 hits and delivered the most crucial one of the game. In the bottom of the 9th, his walk-off single was the final blow that dropped the titan-esque Phillies.
In 8 postseason games (2023), Marte has 13 hits, 5 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.046. He has a hit in every postseason game he has played in.
Mr. Reliable comes through once again…