Diamondbacks didn’t win Game 1 of NLCS, but picked up a ton of respect
Oct 16, 2023, 9:15 PM | Updated: Oct 17, 2023, 8:03 am
At their best, the Diamondbacks create chaos. They are chaos.
Things are different now. In their first National League Championship Series appearance since 2007, the Diamondbacks were the recipients. They were subjected to chaos, a young team dropped in the middle of a maelstrom.
They didn’t win, but they didn’t drown. They found a way to remain afloat.
And despite a 5-3 loss to the Phillies in Game 1, the Diamondbacks earned a measure of respect Monday night on the hardest stage in baseball.
It’s a small consolation prize for a game that could’ve been so much worse.
The Diamondbacks were floored early. Ace Zac Gallen issued two home runs in his first five pitches, igniting a fan base that Rolling Stone magazine once referred to as a rabid pack of wolverines. They trailed 4-0 with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the third inning. They were staring serious embarrassment in the face.
And, somehow, they made a game of it.
Obviously, there are no moral victories in the postseason. But the Diamondbacks are heavy underdogs in this series. The Phillies have the pedigree, the star power and a lot of facial hair. They look like a beer league softball team that will beat you by mercy rule while rallying around the keg in their dugout before challenging you to a fistfight on your way to the parking lot.
Yet, somehow, the Diamondbacks found their footing. They sent the tying run to the plate in each of the last three innings. They made the crowd at Citizens Bank Park fret. You could see them grip on live television and that means something. That felt good.
Perspective matters. After eliminating the Brewers and the Dodgers with just one game at Chase Field, the Diamondbacks are playing with a pocketful of house money. All reasonable fans should understand it will take a Herculean effort for this squad to win this series and advance to the World Series.
If they just manage to keep these games competitive, it will be a tremendous experience and coming-out party for a franchise on the cusp of a new era.
Their collective experience and starting rotation are terribly thin. Their lineup is hit and miss. They are facing some of the best prime-time players in the sport. They will need a tremendous effort from Merrill Kelly and a victory in Game 2 to avoid a hasty exit, to give themselves the slightest of chances.
But in Game 1, they went down fighting. The city of Philadelphia respects that.
So do I.