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Arizona Diamondbacks

NLCS Game 5 Preview: The Turning Point

The Diamondbacks have come back from two games down to even the series. Now, game five provides a turning point. If Arizona can win, they will return to Philly, only needing one win. It’s tough to win games in Citizen’s Bank Park, and Arizona needs this one. The Diamondbacks have now won three Chase Field playoff games in a row. They are riding excellent momentum from two late-inning comebacks and have their ace on the mound.

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Pitching Matchups:

It will once again be Zac Gallen vs Zack Wheeler. We saw this matchup in Game 1, which did not go the D-backs way. Gallen allowed five ERs and eight hits in only five innings, while Zack Wheeler was dominant. He went six innings, with his only blemish being a two-run homer allowed to Geraldo Perdomo.

Zack Wheeler torched the D-backs in game one. He retired fifteen D-backs in a row at one point. He did it in both of his starts this October and was dominant for Philly in the crucial run last year. Wheeler knows how to get it done in the playoffs, but he’s not in Citizen’s Bank Park this time. Can he keep it up?

Gallen, on the other hand, has been an ace all year, and he was very good in his previous two starts leading up to the Phillies game, but that rough loss showed a sign of Gallen we haven’t seen.

The Phillies completely ate his fastball alive. They hit the fastball in play nine times that game with an average exit velocity of almost 100. On those balls in play, five of those balls went for hits, including three Home Runs. Whenever he threw it, it felt like it went the other way or was out of the zone. Gallen has multiple pitches, but he lives on that fastball. Gallen throws the fastball almost 50% of the time. If the Phillies figure it out again, he is in trouble.

Lineup Changes Have Been Made:

The Diamondbacks did not like what they have seen from Emmanuel Rivera at third and are bringing back Longoria. Longoria, who DH’ed the previous two games, had some incredible web gems early in the postseason, so the D-backs are putting him back out there. Rivera had a disastrous error last game that gave the Phillies two runs. Longoria is the better defender, so he should be out there.

However, that isn’t the only lineup change. Tommy Pham, who only has one hit since game two of the NLDS and is 1-13 in this series, has been removed from the lineup. He is being replaced by Pavin Smith, who has three hits in the past two games in a pinch-hitting role. He will be the DH for the Diamondbacks.

As for the Phillies, they are keeping the same lineup. That is expected, given how successful it’s been.

Michael Phelps will be throwing out the first pitch tonight at Chase Field. Zac Gallen will take the mound first, and his first pitch will be thrown at 5:07 p.m. PT.

Zac Gallen is a different animal at Chase Field


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