For the first time in franchise history, the Philadelphia Phillies will be playing in a game seven. Offensively, the Phillies went shockingly quiet in front of their home crowd, and now both teams are nine innings away from a trip to the World Series, where they will meet the Texas Rangers. After offense dominated this series early, I’ll break down why the rematch of Brandon Pfaadt vs Ranger Suárez could result in another low-scoring start.
It took six games, but the Arizona Diamondbacks finally managed to get a win with either Zac Gallen or Merrill Kelly on the mound. Kelly had a hard time keeping the ball in the yard during game two of this series, but last night, he returned to the mound at Citizens Bank Park and allowed just one run over five innings while also racking up eight strikeouts.
Even with Kelly’s performance, arguably the best start the Diamondbacks got in this series came from rookie Brandon Pfaadt. With their backs against the wall, Pfaadt came out in game three and spun 5.2 scoreless innings with nine punchouts, and if it weren’t for a pitching change that was questioned at the time, he would’ve likely registered double-digit strikeouts.
Pfaadt warranted just four hard-hit balls in game three, and managing to do that after the Phillies scored 15 runs in the two games prior might be the most impressive aspect of his outing. In their loss last night, Philadelphia also only recorded four hard-hit balls off Merrill Kelly, and of their six hits, only one went for extra bases. That type of performance was not something I was expecting out of a team still hitting .285 with a .945 OPS at home this postseason.
With a trip to their second consecutive World Series on the line, manager Rob Thompson will send lefty Ranger Suárez to the mound for his third start this postseason. In game three, Suárez worked 5.1 shutout innings with seven strikeouts, giving him a .94 ERA in 28.2 career postseason innings. The left-hander has never thrown more than 5.1 innings in a playoff game, so it will be interesting to see how Rob Thompson handles the situation if Suárez is cruising again.
The F5 total for game seven is currently set at 4.5, and I’ll be taking the under for my play at (-117) on BetRivers. By just looking at the final scores, one may not think this is the case, but the F5 under has hit in four of the six games played in this series, and when Pfaadt and Suárez last took the mound, no runs were scored during the first five innings.
Bradon Pfaadt has progressively gotten better across his three postseason starts. After he struggled in the Wild Card round, he managed to throw 4.1 shutout innings against the Dodgers before his 5.2 shutout innings in game three against the Phillies. The rookie’s swing-and-miss stuff was on full display in game three, as he registered 13 swinging strikes. Between his impressive stuff and the fact that he has a 2.13 ERA and 2.15 FIP this postseason, I don’t see him regressing tonight.
As for Ranger Suárez, his ability to create ground balls has served him well over the past two postseasons. The lefty finished the regular season in the 79th percentile in groundball percentage, and in game three, he forced seven ground balls to only five fly balls. Arizona is also only hitting .229 with a .662 OPS against lefties this postseason, so it’s shaping up to be another pitcher’s duel between the rookie and the lefty.
F5 Under 4.5 (-117)