Thanks to former Tar Heel Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks clinging to playoff spot

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been one of the worst teams in baseball over the past three seasons.

They finished fourth in the NL West last year, but lost 110 games in 2021, tying the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in baseball.

This year’s a different story – and it’s all thanks to a young man by the name of Zac Gallen.

With a 15-7 record (third-best), 3.31 ERA (11th), 195 strikeouts (sixth) and 1.08 WHIP (ninth), the former UNC standout has the Diamondbacks a half-game in front of the Miami Marlins for the final NL Wild Card spot.

Gallen’s impressive season includes a complete-game shutout on Friday against the Chicago Cubs, who – coincidentally – also hold a wild-card spot. Gallen allowed only three hits, a walk, a hit batter and struck out nine Cubs.

This was just the second complete game and first nine-inning shutout for Gallen, who previously tossed a 7-inning shutout back in 2021.

Adding to Gallen’s already-impressive game, which came against a Cubs team the Diamondbacks could very well see in the postseason, was the fact he became only the fifth pitcher in franchise history to win a 1-0 shutout on the road.

Gallen’s next start comes against the most surprising team in baseball this year, the Orioles, who have the best record in all of baseball. Like Arizona, Baltimore is two season removed from the worst record in baseball.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire