The bowler with the longest streak of point-free runs in seven years doesn’t have exceptional speed, spin or movement. how is it Zach Galen did that?
The D-backs champion must be doing something right, as he hasn’t allowed a run in 41 1/3 of the innings entering his Sunday start against the Rockies, Longest streak since Zack Greene in 2015.
What Galen Do What he does is adapt his arsenal to the hitter, position and point of the game. He is great at using different shapes to get the most out of his collection.
Here are three main ways Galen mixes his stuff up to run his point-free streak into six straight starts.
• The cutter you see as a right-handed hitter is not the same as the cutter you see as a left-handed hitter.
Gallen’s boycott has been a more important part of his squad this season than last season, making 2022 look more like the 2020 season with Arizona.
The cutter isn’t a big swing and a flop on the court, but Galen gets plenty of hits with him – during his zero-go streak, which goes back to August 8 against the Buccaneers, he got more chops with his cutter than anything else. The other secondary pitch, a little more than a bend and change.
The way he gets all of this is by attacking the right one way with the cutter, and the left another way.
Against right-hitters, the cutter throws to the lower outer corner, like a slider. This means that the Whigs have to deal with a pair of pitches that separate from them in the area, Gallen interrupted and curved his hinge.
Against left-handed hitters, the cutter throws up and in, so it’s like a high speed ball, but it overlaps more in the batter’s hands. This means the left has to cover the full extent of the strike zone because Gallen has pitches that break to opposite corners – the cutouts run into the top inner corner, and the changes fade to the lower outer corner.
• The curve ball you see on the first court is not the same as the one you see on the last field.
Galen has two uses for his curveball as well. He can use it to get a strike, or he can use it to get strike.
He likes to throw his curve to keep the hitter away with two strokes. About half of his 0-2 and 1-2 pitches during his goalless streak were curves in the knuckles.
But he also likes to throw his curve to get ahead of the hitter. During the streak, about a quarter of the hitters he encountered started with a curve reel.
Galen can do both because he knows how to locate. Maintains an early counting curve in the zone, burying two-stroke curve balls.
• The heavy court mix you see in the first half is not the same as the fastball first court mix you see in the seventh game.
All six of Gallen’s point-free starts have gone through at least six rounds, and in five of the six, he’s worked at least seven rounds. This means he sees hitters multiple times in the game, and manages to knock them out multiple times in the match.
The first two times during the order, he maintains a consistent approach: about 45% four tailors, 25% curves, 20% cutters and 10% shifts.
But facing those same hitters for the third time late in the game, he attacked them with the fast ball. The third time through demand, use of the four-tier Gallen jumped 10 percentage points, to more than 55%. And he’s not afraid of a high-flying ball being thrown straight by a big hitter.
He will still mix in the first pitch curve ball, breaker or change to play backwards, and drop the hammer curve ball to start the hit if he advances. But the rest of the time, he attacks.
And the way he can spot his fast ball, that makes Gallen’s late brilliance effective in its own way too.