All the Arizona Diamondbacks had to do on Wednesday night was beat the Milwaukee Brewers.
With a victory, they’d be advancing to the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who are a heavy favorite to win the World Series.
Arizona, down 2-0 early, scored five unanswered runs and beat Milwaukee, 5-2, sweeping the NL Central champion on its home field.
A major reason behind the Wild Card Series-clinching victory was the play of former UNC standout Zac Gallen, who rebounded from a rough first inning to toss a quality start.
Gallen fired six innings, allowing just five hits and two earned runs while striking out four batters. This continued a strong regular season campaign for Gallen, who earned Cy Young consideration with a 17-9 win-loss record, 3.47 ERA and 220 strikeouts.
Zac Gallen’s 2Ks in the 6th…and is fired up. 🔥
Heck of a job by Gallen battling through this start without his best stuff. pic.twitter.com/U3zsJAibyJ
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 5, 2023
According to ESPN baseball columnist Jeff Passan, Gallen will likely get the ball in Game 2 of the Diamondbacks-Dodgers NLDS series, which doesn’t start until Saturday. Game 3 is on Monday, Oct. 9, meaning Gallen gets five whole days’ rest. Former Durham Bull Merrill Kelly will likely get the start in Game 1.
The Diamondbacks couldn’t quite snatch the NL West crown from the Dodgers, but they have an opportunity to do something more meaningful – knock out a baseball powerhouse en route to the NLCS.
According to Pat James, a former Daily Tar Heel writer, Gallen became just the fourth Diamond Heels pitcher to win a postseason start.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) October 5, 2023
The others? Matt Harvey, Andrew Miller and Paul Shuey.