Zac Gallen couldn’t find his fastball because the Phillies kept launching into orbit

Zac Gallen couldn't find his fastball because the Phillies kept launching into orbit

Here’s where not to put your first fastball of the game in front of a ravenous Philly crowd that’s looking for any excuse to turn the place into a cauldron:


Or maybe just three to four minutes later, there are better places to put a fastball on one’s first offering to Bryce Harper, who is heating distant planets at this point:

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And that was pretty much Game 1 of the NLCS right there, as the Diamondbacks ended up losing by two runs, with Nick Castellanos adding an opposite-field shot later.

Zac Gallen and Zack Wheeler showed up with similar arsenals to Game 1. Gallen threw his four-seam fastball basically half the time during the season, with Wheeler leaning on his 61 percent of the time. On Monday night, Gallen only threw his fastball on 36 percent of his offerings, That was a result of being scared off of it in the first, as nine of his first 11 pitches were fastballs. One went to Mars off of Kyle Schwarber’s bat. Another was orbiting that one from Harper.

Gallen averaged 93 MPH and only got three whiffs, though that was pretty steady with his 19 percent rate during the season. Wheeler averaged 95 MPH on his and got 10 whiffs, which was on his season average of about a third of his fastballs generating whiffs. But in the playoffs, against the biggest guns and with the biggest stakes, it’s hard to trick your way through a lineup. Sometimes you just have to throw right through.

And looking at where both pitchers put their fastballs, Wheeler was more consistent in being at the top of the zone whereas Gallen was trying to sneak by in the heart of the plate, which got him whacked. That’s not going to fly against the Phillies lineup in this mood.

Merrill Kelly doesn’t throw that hard either. He better come up with something better.

Astros are up against it

Meanwhile, the Rangers seem to be doing it on vibes. The box score will read they got to Framber Valdez quickly and thoroughly. Thing was, they didn’t really hit anything hard. They got four runs on five singles and a throwing error by Valdez, and their strategy of trying to outrun their bullpen before it ever has to enter the game was in effect.

That’s easier to do when Nathan Eovaldi is on the mound these days, as he put up another quality start, six innings and three runs. Which was just enough of a gap that Aroldis Chapman couldn’t blow it, though he tried.

Eovaldi’s masterpiece was the fifth inning, when the Astros loaded the bases with nobody out and he proceeded to send Yainer Diaz and Jose Altuve right back to the bench before Alex Bregman grounded out. Eovaldi struck out Diaz on a curve, Altuve on a splitter, and got Bregman out on a cutter. There was no pattern and the Astros had no answers.

This is as up against it as the Astros have been in some time, having thrown their best two pitchers and losing both games and now heading out on the road for the next three. They’re also playing a team that hasn’t tasted defeat in the playoffs yet and the vibes are pretty strong. But these are the Astros and everyone’s going to need to see the body before anyone thinks it’s over.

Even the WNBA this crap is happening

The Phoenix Mercury hired Orlando Magic assistant Nate Tibbetts as head coach. And while Tibbets may go on to have success, this thread pretty much sums up the double standard of his hiring:

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.