Zac Gallen made his final start of the 2020 season Friday, and it was a good one.
The right-hander struck out a career-high 10 as the D-backs won the first game of the doubleheader against the Rockies, 4-0, at Chase Field. He ended his year with a 2.75 ERA.
“Numbers don’t really matter, but I’m glad I have something to show for how I felt this year and the kind of groove I got into,” Gallen said. “It put a good stamp on the end of this season and feeling good heading into the offseason.”
With the doubleheader, the game was just seven innings long, which means that Gallen was tantalizingly close to his first career complete game.
Gallen allowed five hits and walked two over six innings and was at 90 pitches when D-backs manager Torey Lovullo decided to go to the bullpen.
“I probably said to Torey like six or seven times in the dugout, ‘Come on, man, it’s only 90 pitches, it’s no big deal, let’s save an arm for the doubleheader,’” Gallen said. “He was like, ‘No, I don’t want you to do anything, go out there and have some freak accident.’ But we got the win and that’s most importantly what counts.”
Gallen never wants to come out of a game. It’s part of the ultra-competitive side of him that constantly pushes to get better.
Now, though, Gallen can take a deep breath and relax -- but he said he will do so “bitterly” because he wishes the D-backs would be participating in the postseason.
Aside from seeing family and friends that he hasn’t seen because of Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 protocols, there are two items on his to-do list.
The first is a haircut. He hasn’t had one since before Spring Training.
“I was wondering if you guys were going to ask about it,” Gallen said with a smile. “I looked in the mirror and was like, ‘Man, that’s kind of long.’ I don’t know about the length, per se, but it definitely needs a trim and probably a little thinning. It’s definitely getting a little thick on me. Once the season is over, I’ll be in the clear about going out in public. … I’ll probably go out for a little trim.”
And the second thing?
“I can’t wait to get out and play some golf,” Gallen said. “I’ve already got some [tee times] lined up after the season. It’s been a weird year. Some guys, that’s their escape during the season, playing golf. Definitely looking forward to playing some golf, seeing some friends, seeing some family.”
Gallen (3-2) has certainly earned the free time. He was Arizona’s best starter by far this year. He set a Major League record on Sept. 2 by allowing three or fewer earned runs in his first 25 career starts.
The streak was snapped Sept. 7 when he allowed four runs to the Giants. In his next outing against the Mariners, he allowed seven.
“Had a little setback,” Gallen said of those outings. “But it was fun to just put in the work and figure that out. That’s one thing I like about pitching -- one day, you feel like you’ve got it and then the next, you could have totally lost it. It’s that never-ending quest of trying to find that delivery and that consistency.”