D-backs follow familiar script with Mantiply starting bullpen game

October 31st, 2023

PHOENIX -- Following a blueprint similar to the one they used to win the National League pennant, the D-backs will turn to left-handed reliever to start Game 4 of the World Series on Tuesday night at Chase Field.

In what will once again be a full-on bullpen game, manager Torey Lovullo is calling on his high-leverage lefty to tackle the top of the Texas order as Arizona hopes to even the series in a crucial Game 4.

Mantiply also started Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Phillies, with the intent to neutralize Philadelphia's left-handed sluggers: Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper. Mantiply struck out Schwarber to start the first inning and induced a groundout from Harper to end it.

This time around, Mantiply will be asked to slow down the red-hot Corey Seager, who has homered in two of the first three games of the World Series.

Seager’s career OPS is nearly 100 points higher vs. right-handers (.905) than it is against lefties (.808). Those numbers were even more staggering during the 2023 regular season, when Seager posted a 1.075 OPS against righties compared to .882 vs. left-handers.

Mantiply likely won't be asked to go much beyond Seager, though that may depend on whether the Rangers start left-handed-hitting rookie Evan Carter. Carter did not start either of Texas' games against a left-handed starter in the ALCS, but it's possible Rangers manager Bruce Bochy just slides him down in the order this time around, knowing the D-backs are doing a bullpen game.

As for Mantiply's last start, he faced only three batters and threw just 14 pitches before passing the torch to Luis Frías on a night when Arizona used eight pitchers to navigate nine innings in a 6-5 victory over the Phillies.

The D-backs figure to roll out a similar approach against the Rangers, something that became possible with an efficient Game 3 performance during a 3-1 loss. Starter Brandon Pfaadt took down 5 1/3 innings before four relievers -- Miguel Castro, Kyle Nelson, Frías and Andrew Saalfrank -- handled the remaining 3 2/3 innings. No reliever threw more than 20 pitches.

"It was super important," Lovullo said, "considering what we're going to go through tomorrow."