Merrill Kelly delivers steller performance, Diamondbacks rout Rangers 9-1 WS game two
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Sunday, October 29, 2023
ARLINGTON, TX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks routed the Texas Rangers 9-1 on Saturday night in Game 2 of the World Series. The best-of-seven series is now tied 1-1 heading into game three on Monday night, from Chase Field in Pheoenix, Arizona.
The Diamondbacks had many contributors in their Game 2 victory - Ketel Marte and Corbin Carroll each drove in a pair of runs, just like they did in game 1; Tommy Pham produced 4 hits, and more - but perhaps the most valiant effort was made by pitcher Merill Kelly.
Kelly delivered in a major way on Saturday, holding the Rangers to one run on three hits with zero walks over 7 innings of work. He struck out nine batters out of the 24 he faced before seeding to the bullpen. His performance was crucial for Arizona in a multitude of ways. Foremost, Game 1 lasted 11 innings and saw six members of the D-backs’ bullpen in action (including a combined 50 pitches from closer Paul Sewald and setup man Kevin Ginkel), so they could ill afford to dip deeply into the pen on Saturday night. Seven-inning starts are hard to manufacture in the postseason. Kelly’s was the seventh such seven-plus-inning start of this October, and the second since the end of the Division Series. It’s also the first in a World Series since 2019 (Stephen Strassburg threw 8/3 innings in game 6). The performance also leads the charge in stealing home field advantage back from Texas.
The vaunted Rangers line up looked befuddled as Kelly tossed a game-high 10 swinging strikes with a combination of changeups, cutters, fastball variants, and sliders. Kelly did not allow a baserunner until the fourth inning, the only Ranger’s batter he allowed to even get past first was Mitch Garber, who homered in the fifth. In four postseason starts Kelly has surrendered just six runs on 12 hits and eight walks while striking out 28 batters in 24 innings, good for a 2.25 ERA and a 3.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
It’s still very early in the series, but if the Diamondbacks go on to win it, they’ll owe a lot to Kelly.