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After a rather tame Game 3 of the World Series in which just four total runs were scored, Game on Tuesday night has a chance to get wild. This series hasn’t seen first-inning runs since Game 1 when the Rangers plated a couple of early runs. In fact, the D’Backs have struggled to score early in games throughout the postseason despite their success. However, Game 4 is a bullpen game for both sides, putting Andrew Heaney and Joe Mantiply on the mound in the first inning. There are reasons to believe both pitchers are potentially vulnerable and could give up a run or more in the opening inning.
Heaney recorded just one out and faced three batters in his only other appearance during this series. In fact, he’s pitched just 2.1 innings since the start of the ALCS, so he may not be that sharp. During the regular season, he posted a solid 3.54 ERA in the first inning of games. But he’s not been as sharp in the playoffs and may not have a long leash in this series. More importantly, Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte, and Christian Walker are a combined 5 for 10 with four home runs in their career against Heaney. That figures to be a bad omen for his chances to escape trouble against the top of the Arizona lineup.
Meanwhile, Mantiply may not be much better on the other side. In his eight playoff appearances, he’s only pitched a full inning three times, so it’s not as if he’s been that efficient. To his credit, he’s only allowed runs in one of those appearances, and that came in a disastrous outing during the NLCS. Alas, Mantiply doesn’t have convincing numbers against the hitters he’ll face in the first inning of Game 4. Marcus Semien is 1 for 2 against him and Corey Seager is 2 for 4 against him. Despite those being small sample sizes, it’s enough to worry about Mantiply being able to escape first-inning trouble, especially since the Rangers have had some success scoring early in games during the postseason.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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