What a wild wild-card victory amirite?
It appeared as if things could be over in a hurry last night. In the bottom of the 2nd, Milwaukee’s Tyrone Taylor hit a 2-run blast to put the Brew Crew up 3-0, and the crowd that filled the seats of American Family Field roared.
When Taylor eventually crossed the plate after his home run trot, the Brewers were given an 82% chance of winning the ball game. Arizona’s back was against the wall, but as you and I know, that is something they have gotten used to this season.
Their response? Home run derby. Not even a full inning later, Corbin Carroll hits a long (444 ft) and majestic 2-run shot and Ketel Marte follows with a homer of his own to tie it. And just like that, it was a new ball game.
The D-backs bullpen would come in to relieve starter Brandon Pffadt in the 3rd inning. All they did was pitch 6.1 dominant innings not allowing a single run.
Gabriel Moreno hit the game-winning home run in the 4th and Christian Walker added some cushion with a 2-run double in the 9th (6-3). Paul Sewald closed things out and that was all she wrote.
A game 1 victory for this scrappy D-backs team. 1 down, 1 to go…
Hero #3 in the Diamondbacks game 1 win: RP Kevin Ginkel
According to Baseball Savant, Kevin Ginkel finished the game with a 24.6 WPA (Win Probability Added) ranking him the 3rd most valuable player of the game.
Ginkel had a stellar finish to the regular season. After the all-star break, Ginkel went 6-1 with a 2.59 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He was easily the most consistent bullpen arm for the D-backs down the stretch of games that were vital to win to even get to the postseason.
Well to no surprise, he continued to prove himself last night. He came into the 7th inning with Arizona clinging to a 1-run lead. Here goes the sequence of events that unfolded when he was on the mound: strikeout, single, double play, strikeout, strikeout, strikeout.
2 innings pitched, 4 punch outs, no runs allowed. Absolute dawg…
Hero #2 in the Diamondbacks game 1 win: OF Corbin Carroll
According to Baseball Savant, Corbin Carroll finished the game with a 25.8 WPA (Win Probability Added) ranking him the 2nd most valuable player of the game.
I think if you look in the Dictionary for the phrase “perfect postseason debut” you will find a picture of Carroll smiling at you. Things could not have gone better for the rookie last night.
When Carroll’s boys were facing a 3-run deficit against the best pitching staff in baseball, he decided to put his clutch pants on and do the unthinkable. As a rookie (keeping in mind), Carroll hit a 2-run bomb off one of the best pitchers in baseball in Corbin Burnes.
This home run not only brought the Diamondbacks within a run, but it also gave them a new energy. An energy that was infectious to everyone in the dugout. It flipped the Brewers on their heads. A massive momentum shift due to one solid swing of the bat.
Carroll’s final stat line: 2 runs, 2 hits, 2 RBIs, 2 walks. Not bad eh?
Hero #1 in the Diamondbacks game 1 win: RP Ryan Thompson
According to Baseball Savant, Ryan Thompson finished the game with a 31.0 WPA (Win Probability Added) ranking him the most valuable player of the game. Only Texas Rangers SP Jordan Montgomery had a higher WPA in yesterday’s MLB playoff games.
How about that? On August 19th (2023), Arizona signed this man to a minor league contract. After showcasing his talent in Reno, he got the call-up just over a week later.
In 13 regular season games with the D-backs, Thompson pitched 13 innings and only allowed 1 run. He continued his dominance Tuesday night, in what became an inspiring performance by the bullpen.
With a 1-run lead in the bottom of the 5th, Thompson comes marching in from the bullpen with the bases loaded and 1 out. He has to face Tyrone Taylor who hit a back-breaking home run earlier in the contest.
The crowd is on their feet, and the screams are getting louder, but Thompson finds a way to silence them; Getting ahead 0-2. 2 sinkers, 2 strikes. Thompson is now in the driver's seat; Until he isn’t.
After getting ahead in the count, Thompson threw 3 consecutive balls, and the count was full. On the 6th pitch of the at-bat, Thompson throws a sinker that got too much of the plate and Taylor laces it to the left side of the infield.
What surely looked like a game-tying base hit was snagged by veteran Evan Longoria. One out on the catch, and a second out on the throw to second base. Inning and rally over…
Thompson’s final stat line: 1.2 innings pitched, 1 strikeout, 0 runs allowed.