Corbin Carroll bounce back looms large for Game 5 and beyond of NLCS

Oct 20, 2023, 10:43 PM | Updated: Oct 21, 2023, 12:56 am

Despite showing up huge for the first two series of his playoff debut, Arizona Diamondbacks star Corbin Carroll has struggled through four games of a NLCS his team will eventually need him for.

And with the series now all knotted up at 2-2, he’s still going to have plenty of chances to bounce back.

Carroll is just 1-for-15 with a strikeout and a hit by pitch through four games in the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Early, they were pounding him in,” D-backs batting coach Joe Mather said. “That won’t change tomorrow with (Phillies starting pitcher Zack) Wheeler. If they’re hitting up in on the corners on anybody, it’s gonna be tough. But I imagine that’s kind of where they go back to.”

Carroll’s lone hit was in his first at bat of the series, a single, against Wheeler.

Playing the odds?

Carroll has been inundated by left-handed pitchers in the series.

So far, he’s 0-for-9 against southpaws in the NLCS. During the regular season, however, he hit .283 versus lefties —  as opposed to .286 versus righties — but in nearly 260 fewer at bats.

He grounded out against Jose Alvarado in Game 1, was 0-for-3 against Ranger Suarez in Game 3 with a strikeout and a pair of groundouts while lining out against Alvarado and in Game 4, grounded out twice against Cristopher Sanchez, once against Matt Strahm and Gregory Soto.

Sudden struggles for Carroll

Prior to the trip to Philadelphia, however, it was all gravy for the likely National League Rookie of the Year.

Carroll lit up the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The outfielder was 3-for-10 with a homer, two RBIs, two stolen bases and four walks in the three games against the National League West rival.

It was a three-game sweep for the Diamondbacks.

Meanwhile, in the National League Wild Card series against the Milwaukee Brewers, Carroll was 4-for-7 for a .571 batting average with a homer, two RBIs and two walks.

Struggles in the heart of the order

It’s unfair to paint Carroll as the scapegoat for the offense though — he’s far from the only struggling.

If you take away the three-run homer hit by Alek Thomas in the eighth inning, the D-backs have scored eight runs over 34 innings of the series.

Other members of the heart of the order are also struggling. Cleanup hitter Christian Walker has gone just 1-for-13 in the NLCS and has struck out six times while walking four times.

Meanwhile, outfielder and designated hitter Tommy Pham has seen himself demoted from the three-hole to the five-spot in the lineup after Game 2 in favor of hot-hitting catcher Gabriel Moreno. Pham is also 1-for-13 with five punch-outs of his own. Both righties are hitting .076.

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