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Merrill Kelly shines with 7-Inning gem in World Series

Oct 28, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Merrill Kelly (29) reacts in the in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game two of the 2023 World Series at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

In an era of baseball where pitchers are often pulled early, it’s a rarity to witness a seven-inning or longer performance in a postseason game.

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 That’s precisely why Merrill Kelly’s remarkable start against the Texas Rangers on Saturday was such a standout moment, marking the first 7+ inning outing in the World Series since 2019.

The last pitcher to go 7 innings or longer in a World Series game was Stephen Strasburg, as he allowed two earned runs through 8.1 innings of work.

Between Strasburg’s memorable performance and Kelly’s recent gem, there have been 20 different starts, featuring 40 different starting pitchers, none of whom managed to reach the 7th inning.

What adds to the impressiveness of Kelly’s Game 2 showing is the fact that he had the stamina to go even further.

Had the Diamondbacks not held a comfortable lead, there’s a strong chance that manager Torey Lovullo would have let Kelly take the mound for the 8th inning, especially considering he had thrown only 89 pitches.

Overall this postseason, Merrill Kelly has allowed one run or fewer in three of his starts. Through 24 innings, he holds a 2.25 ERA.

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