The Los Angeles Dodgers once again got the best of Zac Gallen and it amounted to a 7-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a seven-game homestand.
The right-hander entered the matchup with a 14-5 record, 3.11 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 27 starts this season, and a streak of five consecutive quality starts dating back to August 1. “You could argue he’s one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said before the game.
“He’s tough, got good stuff, he’s smart, you could see he has a plan and executes it. He pitches to both sides of the plate, he can front to back you, he can spin the baseball. He’s an ace. This is a good challenge for us.”
Gallen endured one of his worst starts of the season as he was tabbed for six runs on nine hits (four home runs) over 5.1 innings of work at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers did all of their damage on four swings as Freddie Freeman and Max Muncy hit home runs in the first inning, and Jason Heyward and James Outman connected on back-to-back home runs in the sixth.
It was the first time Gallen surrendered at least three home runs in a start since August 15, 2021. The 2023 All-Star Game starter also struggled in his only other outing against the Dodgers on Opening Day, when he allowed five runs across 4.2 innings and took a loss at Chase Field.
“I said it before the game, he’s one of the best in baseball. I don’t know the answer,” Roberts answered when asked why the team fares so well against Gallen. “It just seems like every time we face a guy like that, it’s a grind and he makes pitches when he needs to.
“But I thought tonight, to start the game, he went to the well one too many times with Freddie. I thought it was a decent pitch, but Freddie hit the homer, and to Jason, it was a changeup down for the homer there.
“And James put a good swing on a fastball. You’re not going to put up crooked numbers against Zac Gallen very often, it was good to see us after we relinquished that lead to battle back.”
Max Muncy: Dodgers ‘stuck with our approach’ against Zac Gallen
Muncy attributed the Dodgers’ success to carrying out their collective plan against Gallen. “We just stuck with our approach. We didn’t get outside of it and we just waited for him to make a mistake pitch,” Muncy explained.
“With him it’s pretty rare. He usually goes out there and executes his game plan, but we got a few mistakes and took advantage of it to put some runs on the board.”
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