In a turn of events no one saw coming, Zac Gallen, the formidable ace of the Arizona Diamondbacks, faced an unsettling start during Game 1 of the National League Championship Series (NLCS). The Philadelphia Phillies capitalized on this unexpected shakeup, claiming a 5-3 victory over the Diamondbacks.
Notably, Gabriel Moreno exited the field in mere minutes after Gallen delivered just five pitches. This loss has seen the Diamondbacks trail in the postseason for the first time, adding pressure on their next moves. Gallen's performance was notably off-mark; the Phillies' power hitters, Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper, and Nick Castellanos, all sent balls over the fence with solo home runs within the initial two innings.
Against the Diamondbacks, Phillies' Zack Wheeler showcased superior control, restricting them to a mere three baserunners over six innings.
Gallen's Candid Admission
However, Gallen, known for his forthrightness, didn’t dodge post-game scrutiny.
"I genuinely felt my stuff was fine. The release felt right, but I missed a few key moments. The Phillies approached with aggression. I acknowledge that I didn’t keep things tight enough to tilt the win probabilities our way," he admitted.
This matchup wasn't just another game for Gallen. The Phillies, once Gallen's neighborhood team, hold a special place in his heart. Having grown up in proximity to Philadelphia, Gallen has always proudly spoken of his roots.
He spent his formative years in Gibbsboro, New Jersey, a mere 14 miles from Philadelphia's bustling center. Though drafted by the Cardinals in 2016, his journey took a detour, with a move to the Miami Marlins before he could don the major league Cardinal red.
Reflecting on the nostalgic and bittersweet game against his hometown team, Gallen expressed, "Starting Game 1 of the NLCS at the very stadium I frequented as a youngster, it's surreal." To add a feather to his cap, Gallen was rightfully honored as the National League's All-Star Game starting pitcher in 2023, cementing his place as a formidable force in the league. The Diamondbacks will be eagerly anticipating a stronger comeback from their ace in the next outing.