D-backs resting most starters in regular season finale vs. Astros
Oct 1, 2023, 11:39 AM
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks rolled out a different lineup on Sunday, the final day of the regular season, against a Houston Astros team competing for the AL West crown.
Arizona clinched a wild card spot on Saturday, so manager Torey Lovullo is giving run to his understudies, including players fighting for a postseason roster spot.
Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte, Tommy Pham, Christian Walker and Gabriel Moreno were not inserted in the lineup.
“I want to get guys playing time, get them on their feet,” Lovullo said. “We’ve had a lot of bench players who haven’t had a lot of time lately. So I want to get their timing right and push the guys out there and make sure they’re ready to compete on Tuesday.”
Shortstop prospect Jordan Lawlar is the lead-off hitter and catcher Seby Zavala will play his last game of the season since he is ineligible for the postseason roster (claimed from Chicago White Sox after Sept. 1 deadline).
Jake McCarthy is the two-hole hitter in his second start since Sept. 17.
On the mound, left-handed reliever Kyle Nelson will open the game. Lovullo said there are some pitchers who need work and will provide coverage. He did not announce his plan for Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series, which begins Tuesday. Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are lined up for the second and third games, respectively.
The Astros pegged Cristian Javier to start Sunday in a must-win game for their division title hopes. Houston needs a win and a Texas Rangers loss to clinch the AL West. Texas faces the Seattle Mariners, who were eliminated on Saturday.
Houston won the first two games of the series at Chase Field by a combined score of 3-1. It clinched a postseason berth on Saturday.
Sunday still has stakes for the D-backs.
Arizona entered the final day in the third wild card spot, trailing a half-game behind the Miami Marlins.
If the Marlins win or the D-backs lose, Arizona will be the final wild card team and travel to the Milwaukee Brewers for the best-of-three opening round. If the D-backs win and Miami falls to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Lovullo’s club will go to Philadelphia against the Phillies.
Rosters go back down from 28 to 26 players in the playoffs, so the D-backs will make some tweaks. Their matchup could determine how they use the final spots.
“Do you want somebody who can steal some bases? Do you want someone who will bang the baseball? We’re going over that,” Lovullo said. “One team has a lot of left-handed batters (Philadelphia). The other team doesn’t have a lot of left-handed batters. So we’re trying to figure that out. It will look very similar with maybe one or two moving parts.”