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A Blog For People Watching The World Series Tonight

The Rangers are 1 win away from the World Series. They play Game 5 against the Diamondbacks tonight at 7pm Central in Arizona.

Here are some basic notes to improve your viewing experience:

- Zac Gallen is pitching for the Diamondbacks. He can be very good but has been overwhelmingly-mediocre since August 1st. The name recognition isn't matching his stuff and execution right now, and it hasn't for some time. But there's also good news with this as we get into the show = Gallen is the kind of pitcher that can pull a rabbit out of his hat mechanically and make the right tweaks between starts. Even at a physical disadvantage:

- What makes Gallen very good also renders him susceptible to serving meatloaf. Not balls. I'm talking full loaf. 

He's got a simple, upright delivery that's athletic and repeatable. For golf swing enthusiasts, think of Gallen like Max Homa in how simple he is on the principles. Literally, textbook fundamentals. And they've been drilled to the point of maximizing simplicity without sacrificing stuff. It's a near-perfect pairing of athlete to mechanics that ultimately draws one simple, powerful, somewhat-arrogant description from outsiders: gifted

Zac Gallen most certainly is gifted. No doubt. But the intersection of his gifts and their practical application creates a small yet devastating problem. Like the vent shaft on the original Death Star. The flaws are limited but demonstratively explosive. He runs into one recurring problem in his delivery and things go off the rails. 

Bad pitches don't just miss the spot - they're big and flat. The sinker sinks less AND it's slower. Changeup usage plummets and the mound feels like it's behind 2nd base. 

All good pitchers face these issues at the end of their careers. Gallen is confronting it in real time and I think it's all routine wear and tear. He'll surpass 240 innings tonight and he'll do it with one of the smaller frames in MLB. That comes with natural, obvious consequences, which have been progressively demonstrated over the last 90 days. 

- So Game 5. You've got a really tough task for Gallen. You're asking him to make the right adjustments to consistently execute elite staff. You're asking him to do it in a World Series elimination game against an awesome lineup that already squared him up not even a week ago. And you're doing this without seeing any sign of his dominance this postseason. That's a tall order for Game 5, but even so, his success would not surprise. 

He can do it. 

- Nathan Eovaldi wasn't great last time outSo there's a positive for Arizona, even with a leveling-performance most likely inbound. There's not enough intrigue behind Eovaldi to justify a lengthy assessment. Simply, the Rangers have a major advantage if Eovaldi gets into the 6th inning. They're okay if he's out in the 5th. We got some problems any time before then - none of which I anticipate.

- We've been wrong about almost everything. That's fair. You've been wrong too. The playoffs have been boring, interesting, boring, amazing, back to interesting, and now again boring. 5-game World Series suck. Anyone and everyone that favors memorable professional championships is cheering for the Diamondbacks tonight if for no other reason than more baseball. So while we kinda/sorta/definitely err'd in favoring the DBacks the last 2 games out, please trust it was in good faith, Christian Walker baserunning be damned. 

- Starting Pitching matchups suck. I mean that generally. How did we just - The United States of America - get a bullpen game in a World Series? How do we not have more starting pitchers? How is Brandon Pfaadt the 3rd and last guy? We get into a lot of this on the show:

The playoffs are better when you're talking about the teams in terms of starting pitching. 

Clemens vs. Pedro 

Maddux vs. Prior

Pettitte vs. Schilling

Moneyball changed everything and Starting Pitchers benefited the least. Now we're getting the leftovers and it looks something like: 22 starts, ~100 innings pitched, 1.45 WHIP, 96 strikeouts and one notable IL stint per year. And that's both (a) average and (b) intentionally representative of how deep we're willing to collectively respect a modern starting pitcher. 150-something years into the sport and that's the best short list of indisputably relevant starting pitching statistics I can muster. Comparatively, my estimates are a pathetic insult to the men who built this game. 

I said The Men

We talk some more about starters, generally, towards the end of today's show. It's good banter from 3 nerds that want to see the league at it's very best, and we unanimously (3 guys) agree Starting Pitching is the next big ticket. 

But first we have a World Series to watch. At least one more game of Corey Seager proving why your front office is cheap/worthless/lazy/responsible for your life's disappointments. Another night of John Smoltz teaching you baseball strategy. Another chance to marvel at Bruce Bochy's bullpen levering and enjoy an Arizona Diamondbacks club most baseball fans pray for every spring training. 

Please be good enough for long enough to overcome notable deficiencies 

Off the top of my head, similar 2023 sentiments belonged to: Mariners, Giants, Angels, White Sox, Twins, Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals, Reds, Marlins and the Red Sox. If you're team wasn't listed here it's because they should have been much better or much worse. In that spirit, hopefully this Diamondbacks club helps at least one of you realize that most of us are closer than we can ever see for ourselves. 

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To that one person - We're at the inception of a new Major League Baseball. New playoffs. New rule changes. More teams. New divisions. Different rosters. More action and overall better product for everybody. This is the very beginning and it should only improve.

For now, we got a World Series elimination game in the least viewed World Series since the turn of the millennium. Believe it or not, we actually talk about that too on today's show. You can check it out here. 

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