PHILADELPHIA – Zach Gallen will be wearing No. 23 when he prepares the D-backs for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on Monday. 2020 season.
With those numbers, Gallen has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game, earning Cy Young Award votes in two of those seasons — not including 2023, where he will likely be on many award ballots as well. was mentioned – and ended up fifth in the last championship.
Gallen, who attended the University of North Carolina before being drafted by the Cardinals in 2016, wore the number in honor of Michael Jordan; the professional basketball legend who also signed for the same university.
The D-back right-hander appears in his alma mater’s jersey on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park for what will be one of the biggest games of his career. He did it with Jordan on the floor.
“I’m just talking (about Jordan) right now,” Gallen said when asked about his jersey. “We talked about Michael’s preparation before competing for the national championship when he was a rookie (19 years old in 1982). You could see the look on his face. “I was ready and I wasn’t afraid. Take action. “
In some ways, Gallen is viewed by his teammates as someone who knows how to best prepare for the big moments.
“I knew right away he was going to be a force on the field,” Arizona first baseman Christian Walker said, referring to the D-back acquired in a 2019 deadline trade with the Marlins Galen. I knew him well, but I quickly realized his seriousness and attention to detail. “Sometimes he looks like a mad scientist the way he looks at things and finds the best place to throw.”
Gallen came to the desert during his rookie season, when he was only 23 years old. He’s done nothing but improve since then, posting a 3.24 ERA in parts of five seasons with D-backs in which he totaled 186 hits in just 186 plate appearances. He struck out 686 times and became the ace of the rotation during that period. back. Much of this success is the result of a strong emphasis on pitching preparation.
That’s why the presence of one of the greatest athletes in history is in his mind, even if it’s not his discipline. But speaking of baseball, another future Hall of Famer has been at Gallen’s side in recent hours, and he just faced Clayton Kershaw.
“For me, it’s all about preparation,” he said. “I was lucky enough to have some conversations with Clayton Kershaw during the last series and I asked him (a few things). I’m fascinated by how they’ve done it for so long and I think for him The key is preparation. You prepare four out of five days. So by the fifth day, your talent takes over and your mind is uninhibited.”
That’s perhaps why the D-backs, even though they’re not favorites in the series against the Phillies, have an air of calm and confidence in the Arizona dugout because they understand that when it comes to preparation and how to respond There are few like Galen in the big moments.
“One thing I know about Zach Gallen is that he’s as good as anyone I’ve ever seen at slowing down in the moment and not getting too excited,” said his agent, Torey Lovullo Lovullo said. “You can see how his brain works and how focused he is on the process with everything he says and does every day.”