After Game 1 went just about as badly as it possibly could, the Dodgers face the prospect of heading to Arizona down 2-0 in the 2023 National League Division Series as Zac Gallen takes the mound for the D-backs against rookie Bobby Miller.
Last season the Dodgers actually beat the Padres in Game 1 of the NLDS before dropping three straight to lose the series, with Clayton Kershaw and Tyler Anderson producing pretty reasonable starts in Game 2 and 4, respectively, while the offense provided just seven runs in the three losses. Miller is tasked with at least putting together something similar to Kershaw’s 5 innings with three runs allowed or Anderson’s 5 scoreless innings, as Gallen’s 3.04 ERA over the past two seasons ranks third in the majors among qualified pitchers.
I’ll get to Gallen’s 11 career starts against the Dodgers, with 10 of those coming as a D-back, but it’ll be up to the same nine in the order for Los Angeles to score more than the two late runs they came up with in Game 1.
|6:07 P.M.||Los Angeles|
|2B||Marte (S)||1B||Freeman (L)|
|CF||Thomas (L)||LF||Peralta (L)|
|P||Gallen (R)||P||Miller (R)|
While the Dodgers made no changes to their order with another right-handed starter on the mound for Arizona, the D-backs made one slight adjustment. Corbin Carroll will open the game at the plate while Ketel Marte moves down to the No. 2 spot for a lineup that produced 11 runs on 13 hits and three walks.
Gallen’s 3.48 ERA against the Dodgers is right in the middle of his career numbers against opponents, ranking 17th of the 28 teams he has pitched against. Here’s a look at those 11 starts, with the most recent meeting being a massive outlier based on the home runs.
|Aug. 28, 2023||5 1/3||101||9||6||6||3||3||4|
|March 30, 2023||4 2/3||89||6||5||5||3||7||0|
|Sept. 22, 2022||8||98||2||1||1||0||13||0|
|April 27, 2022||6||90||2||0||0||2||5||0|
|Sept. 25, 2021||6||99||3||1||1||2||8||1|
|Sept. 13, 2021||5 1/3||101||8||4||4||3||4||0|
|July 30, 2021||6||100||5||2||2||1||8||1|
|Sept. 2, 2020||7||97||1||0||0||2||7||0|
|July 31, 2020||6||98||5||2||2||1||9||1|
|Aug. 30, 2019||5||97||5||3||3||1||6||0|
|July 19, 2019 (Miami)||5 1/3||95||3||2||1||4||5||0|
The four home runs were a season-high for Gallen, while the six runs matched an outing against the Mets for a season-high as well. Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy homered in the 1st inning with the former doing so on a 1-2 fastball and the latter on a 1-0 curve. After settling down, Gallen allowed just three walks and a pair of singles over the next four innings. However, a single by David Peralta to open the 6th brought up Jason Heyward for a 1-0 homer against a change followed by James Outman‘s 2-0 homer on a fastball.
The Dodgers scored five in the meeting against Gallen back in March to open the season, with the 11 runs scored in the two outings nearly equaling the 14 earned runs scored in the previous nine meetings. With that said, the current Dodgers’ offense looks like this in their careers against Gallen:
Of the 30 hits the Dodgers have off of Gallen, seven are home runs and four of those came a little more than a month ago. Will Smith’s double came in March, as did Rojas’ double, with the Dodgers chasing Gallen thanks to a walk and three singles in the 5th inning. Two of those singles came against Gallen’s 93.6 mph fastball, as did Rojas’ double.
Gallen throws six pitches, though the sinker was used just 0.4% of the time and the slider at 3.4% in 2023. Left-handed batters, who hold a .404 SLG compared to right-handed batters’ .362, get the fastball 44.2% of the time, the curve 23.0% and the change 20.7%. The cutter, used 10.9% of the time, holds the worst wOBA (.513) and xwOBA (.432) to left-handed batters. Right-handed batters get fastballs at 53.9% with the curve at 22.5%. The other pitches all land under a 10% usage, with none of Gallen’s five primary options holding a wOBA above .310 against right-handed batters.
Left-handed batters also have a .309 wOBA and a .329 xwOBA against the fastball, with the curve’s 45.9 Whiff% and the change’s 31.8 Whiff% both under a .265 wOBA.
While Gallen’s history against the Dodgers goes back to 2019 when he was with the Marlins, Miller faced the D-backs twice in his 22 starts this season.
|Aug. 28, 2023||6||86||7||4||4||2||4||1|
|Aug. 9, 2023||6||91||4||0||0||4||4||0|
Miller faced Gallen in the start on Aug. 28, with Gabriel Moreno doubling in a run in the 2nd, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubling in one in the 4th and Moreno capping off the scoring one batter later with a two-run homer. Both doubles came on slider, with Moreno at 1-1 and Gurriel Jr. down 1-2, and the homer on a 2-2 fastball.
Three of the four hits in the first meeting were singles, with Miller’s issue coming with the four walks. Miller was ahead in the count at 1-2 in two of the four walks, with a third coming in a 3-2 count in an eight-pitch at-bat. Geraldo Perdomo came up with the only extra-base hit in the game as he doubled on an 0-2 fastball, but Miller escaped the inning with a pair of strikeouts and a line out. The four walks on Aug. 9 were Miller’s most in a game this season while the game was also one of his four scoreless outings this year. Two others came back in June in his third and fourth career starts while the fourth was the regular season finale in his 4-inning outing against the Giants.
Assuming things go better than Saturday, Dave Roberts said before the game that Miller’s pitch range is around 95.
Much to my own personal dismay, Roberts will be sending Lance Lynn out to start Game 3.
Ryan Pepiot will figure into the Game 3 pitching plans as well, Dave Roberts said.— Fabian Ardaya (@FabianArdaya) October 9, 2023
First pitch is scheduled for 6:07 p.m. PT from Dodger Stadium on TBS.