Diamondbacks starting Zac Gallen Game 1, Merrill Kelly Game 2 of NLCS vs. Phillies
Oct 13, 2023, 3:47 PM
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks will run with their top two starters at Citizens Bank Park to open the National League Championship Series.
Zac Gallen will start Game 1 against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday, and Merrill Kelly will get the nod for Game 2 on Tuesday, manager Torey Lovullo announced.
The duo will also start Games 5 and 6, respectively, if necessary. Lovullo said he does not plan to use either on short rest.
Brandon Pfaadt is lined up for Game 3, and Lovullo alluded to needing a starter for Game 4. Arizona has been able to survive with three starters this postseason with days off mixed in. The NLCS is seven games in nine days.
Lovullo said the club is considering carrying 13 pitchers on its NLCS roster. In the NLDS and NLWS, Arizona kept 14 bats and 12 arms.
“What we did for the past hour and a half is we sat down and talked as a staff and a front office game planning, Game 1 going well, Game 1 going poorly and what happens in Game 2,” Lovullo said on Friday. “We hit just about every scenario that we possibly could. We feel like we got to have the roster setup the best way to assist us in not falling behind in any area, especially pitching.”
Ryne Nelson started 27 games this year and has been on the postseason roster as a reliever thus far. Slade Cecconi could be another option.
Gallen has started two games during this postseason run. He’s thrown 11.1 innings with four earned runs in a pair of wins over the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. Both outings were on the road, and he’ll get to face a raucous Philadelphia crowd to open the series.
Kelly started in Saturday’s Game 1 against the Dodgers in the NLDS, throwing six scoreless innings. He will have 10 days between starts by the start of Game 2.
“I feel like there are times throughout the year that the rotation gets jumbled up and you kind of get a couple extra days,” Kelly said. “Just part of the gig. I’m not anticipating anything different. I don’t know what day I’m supposed to be getting ready for. So once I figure that out, then I’ll be able to tailor the program accordingly.”
The Phillies eliminated the Atlanta Braves in four games, clinching the series on Thursday instead of playing a Game 5 on Saturday.
After the game, Phillies manager Rob Thomson said winning early allows them to line up the rotation with ace Zack Wheeler in Game 1, Aaron Nola in Game 2 and lefty Ranger Suarez in Game 3.
Tommy Henry update
D-backs southpaw Tommy Henry started 16 games this year, but he missed the final two months of the regular season with an elbow injury.
Lovullo said on Friday that Henry is in consideration for a postseason roster spot as a reliever.
“His name is getting floated around a little bit, but not to be a starting pitcher,” Lovullo said. “We haven’t built him up.”
Henry had a 4.15 ERA this season and pitched into the sixth inning in five of his last seven starts.