D-backs’ Zac Gallen quotes Kobe Bryant after LA success: ‘Job’s not finished’

Oct 10, 2023, 6:15 AM

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen stayed on the attack in a 4-2 victory Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers that put the D-backs on the brink of eliminating their NL West rival with one more win in the NLDS.

Though he will be on ice for the next few days, his comments after the Diamondbacks went ahead 2-0 on the Dodgers with the series heading to Phoenix said enough to set the tone with Game 3 on deck Wednesday.

It just so happened that Gallen quoted the late Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.

“Job’s not finished, really. It’s the quote Kobe was talking about,” Gallen said, referring to Bryant’s refusal to enjoy a 2-0 lead during the 2009 NBA Finals against the Orlando Magic. “What’s there to be happy about, really?

“I think it’s a good spot for us to be in playing with a little confidence. I don’t think it’s any secret we’ve come in here (at Dodger Stadium) and struggled. So I think it was good for us just mentally (for) ourselves to come in here and set the tone, have a little faith in ourselves.”

Arizona has been the aggressor in the series, jumping ahead early on and holding leads after chasing the Dodgers’ starting pitchers, Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller.

Gallen followed a strong start by Merrill Kelly in Game 1 by going 5.1 frames, allowing two earned runs and keeping Los Angeles guessing with his pitch mix and location. That was made no more obvious than an in-the-zone knuckle curve to strike out Freddie Freeman in a nervy fifth frame to get out of a stressful situation with Dodgers baserunners on first and third.

That flashed Gallen’s mentality of staying ahead and keeping on the attack in his start.

His attitude didn’t change postgame. He wants his Diamondbacks to remain alert and ahead of Los Angeles.

“I grew up, I was a Jordan guy … and I think Kobe was the closest to it just in terms of the mentality,” Gallen said. “Yeah, I mean that clip, I think it’s the Finals in ’09 … just yeah, what’s there to be happy about?

“I think it’s something everybody can learn from really. We have to still continue to play with a chip on our shoulder.”

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