Monday, April 15 2024

ARLINGTON, Texas — Paul Sewald has been through this before, in a sense. He has not pitched in a World Series, nor blown a save in one, as he did Friday night. But just last season, he failed to do his job in another Game 1.

With his Mariners facing the Astros in the American League Division Series, Sewald hit Houston’s nine-hole hitter with a pitch (sound familiar?) before giving up a single two batters later. He left the mound unable to complete the inning, and Robbie Ray surrendered a walk-off home run to the next hitter.

But when he got his next opportunity, Sewald was up to the challenge. In an 18-inning epic between the Mariners and Astros, Sewald pitched two perfect innings, striking out four. This time around, he believes he’s capable of producing similar results.

“I felt like I’ve pitched better this postseason than I did last,” Sewald said. “I think I’ve done a lot better at handling that.”

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Miguel Castro (50) walks off the field as the Texas Rangers celebrate Adolis García's walk-off home run in the 11th inning to win Game 1 of the World Series 6-5 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Oct. 27, 2023.Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Miguel Castro (50) walks off the field as the Texas Rangers celebrate Adolis García's walk-off home run in the 11th inning to win Game 1 of the World Series 6-5 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Oct. 27, 2023.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Miguel Castro (50) walks off the field as the Texas Rangers celebrate Adolis García’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning to win Game 1 of the World Series 6-5 at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Oct. 27, 2023.

In the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse, the postgame message to both Sewald and Miguel Castro, who surrendered the walk-off home run to Adolís Garcia in the 11th, was one one of support.

“I just went by (Sewald) and just gave him a pat,” reliever Kyle Nelson said “I think in a moment like that, he goes through his own process. He’s obviously an incredible pitcher, an incredible player. He goes through his process. We support him the best we can and he knows we’re supporting him.”

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Added Torey Lovullo: “I feel like there’s certain guys that need a pat on the butt. There’s certain guys that need a kick on the butt. And there’s certain guys that don’t even want to talk about it.”

With Sewald and Castro, Lovullo opted for a mix of option one and option three.

“I said to Paul Sewald maybe two words,” Lovullo said. “‘You’re still good. We’re all good. Don’t you worry.’ And Miguel Castro, patted him on the butt and just said, ‘Hey, man, we’ll get them tomorrow.’”

In this postseason, the Diamondbacks have developed a knack for resilience. Referring to their short memories has become a clubhouse refrain, and they’ve backed it up with their play.

Against the Brewers in the very first game of the postseason, they fell behind 3-0 before responding with back-to-back home runs from Corbin Carroll and Ketel Marte. They never looked back. The next night, they were down 2-0 in the first and came alive in the middle innings. Adversity was minimal in a dominant division series, but they were right back at it against the Phillies, when they clawed out of a 2-0 series deficit to reach the World Series. Three of their four wins featured comebacks.

On Saturday, there’s reason for an added dosage of optimism. “We’ll be ready to bounce back tomorrow with Merrill on the mound,” Zac Gallen, their Game 1 starter, said Friday night, speaking in a hushed town amid a silent clubhouse. In these playoffs, Kelly has a 2.65 ERA in three starts. His five innings of one run ball in Game 6 of the NLCS served as the catalyst for the Diamondbacks to win two games in Philadelphia. This time, he could even get a longer leash.

“When Merrill gets moving and he gets the line moving in the right direction, he gets some quick, easy outs, and it’s 9-12 pitch innings,” Lovullo said. “And I think he started to show that in Philadelphia in Game 6. There were some easy movements and he got through that fifth and I think that’s where the frustration was coming from, that he felt very good. If he gets the line moving in the right way and the pitch count is low and we’re in the right spot, of course, I’m going to press him a little bit, for sure.”

After all, the Diamondbacks still have a tantalizing opportunity in front of them.

“We’ve got to come out and see if we can split,” Sewald said. “If you’d have told me before the series started that if we won one of two here, we’d have felt good. We still have a chance to do that.”

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Lovullo: ‘We’re all good’ as DBacks aim for quick turnaround in Game 2

Source: Yahoo Sports

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