Inside Zac Gallen’s career year for the Arizona Diamondbacks

Zac Gallen’s attention to detail in the second half of the 2022 season is one of his keys to success. “I am always trying to fine-tune things and make things as good as they possibly can be,” Gallen said. (Photo courtesy of Jill Weisleder/Arizona Diamondbacks)

PHOENIX – In a season with many highs and lows, one variable has maintained success throughout the entire Diamondbacks season and that has been the dominance of Zac Gallen.

Gallen’s 2022 campaign has been the best statistical season of his career to date. Holding a record of 12-3, his 2.46 ERA sits as the sixth best in the majors and a WHIP of 0.89 only trails Justin Verlander (0.84) for the lowest in baseball. During the Diamondbacks’ 5-2 win in extras against the Houston Astros, Gallen tossed seven innings of two-run ball and struck out six batters in a no-decision.

“(Gallen) has been a consistent workhorse for us this year and has meant a lot to this team,” Diamondbacks Pitcher Ian Kennedy said.

On Sept. 22, Gallen became the first MLB pitcher in the modern era to throw eight or more innings on the road with 12-plus strikeouts, no walks and two or fewer hits allowed while throwing under 100 pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers edged the Diamondbacks 3-2 after blowing the lead in the ninth inning.

“You know when you find out who the starter is that day and sometimes you are like okay you can get a break? That is what it is like to have him out there,” Kennedy said. “You have a really good chance of winning whenever you have someone like him who has been on a roll.

It is impressive to watch throughout the year, but on the bullpen side of it, it is going to be a lot of fun if you are on the back side of the ‘pen because it will be a low- scoring game and you are probably going to get in that day.”

Gallen began to find his stride back in June, when the Diamondbacks were wrapping up a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He gave up two runs while striking out four and walking three in a 3-0 loss to the Pirates. But Gallen found some bright spots in his outing with tempo, rhythm and delivery.

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“I am kind of a tinkerer of my pitches, and I am always trying to fine-tune things and make things as good as they possibly can be,” Gallen said. “I am a big delivery person, so going into the Pittsburgh series a couple months ago the delivery started to feel good so I started to go along with that.”

According to Kennedy, Gallen is meticulous about his routine on the mound and explained why he is so technical about his mechanics, how he holds base runners on base and grips specific pitches based on batters.

“The biggest thing for me is timing. When I have a tendency to rush, things go out of whack,” Gallen said. “When I can time my delivery, specifically making sure my leg and hands brick over the rubber, (it) allows me to be under control and have that balance and do what I need to do down the mound. That is probably the biggest thing lately that I have been concentrating on and trying just to simplify and go with that.”

Since the All-Star Break, Gallen’s 1.15 ERA is the lowest amongst any pitchers in the second half of the season. Between his historic scoreless streak and continued dominance on the mound, fans have been really appreciative of what Gallen has been doing for the organization. Fans such as Bruce Quickel were pleased with the performance of Gallen this year, especially what it means going further.

“Gallen was phenomenal for us this year, and one of the many reasons why I am interested in buying season tickets for the future,” Quickel said. “Between Gallen and the youth of this team, it gives me all of the reason for excitement for what this team could do in the coming years.”

Gallens will enter his first year of arbitration this upcoming offseason and hits free agency in 2026. After showing signs as one of the best players in baseball, signing the rising star to a long-term deal would be in the organization’s best interest.

Sports Broadcast Reporter, Phoenix

Keenan O’Rourke expects to graduate in May of 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. O’Rourke has covered ASU baseball for Blaze Radio.