PHILADELPHIA — Sleep wasn’t going to come easy for Corbin Carroll Monday night, and the D-backs outfielder wouldn’t have it any other way. It won’t be nerves that will keep him awake, but instead the excitement that comes with knowing Tuesday night that he and his teammates will be playing in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.
The D-backs extended their season by defeating the Phillies 5-1 in Game 6 on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. It was the D-backs’ first road win in an elimination game (previously 0-4) in franchise history.
“It’s tomorrow,” Carol said. “Win or go home.” I think everyone here is just incredibly excited.
With a win, the D-backs would advance to the second World Series in franchise history. This World Series also marked the last time the D-backs played in a Game 7; ended with a hit by Luis Gonzalez against Mariano Rivera.
That was at Chase Field. This Game 7 will be at Citizens Bank Park, which is a little less embarrassing for the D-backs since they became the first team to beat the Phillies in their home ballpark this postseason.
Philadelphia was 6-0 at home this postseason and has won 11 straight postseason home games against NL opponents. The Phillies were also 5-0 in potential postseason games under manager Rob Thomson.
The D-backs will have a good chance to end the series upset if they repeat the formula that worked so well for them in Game 6.
The early lead helped calm the sellout crowd, which had come hoping to see the Phillies win their second straight trip to the World Series.
“It’s been significantly quieter for those middle innings, when I think things can really pick up here,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “I feel like those early runs let us breathe a little bit. For us, this is an elimination game. We know what’s at stake. We knew what we had to do and we were in the middle of it. I think we just started to relax a little bit and just continued to capitalize throughout the day.”
The D-backs finally got the bases loaded, tying the club record for stolen bases in a postseason game with four. That came after he had just one stolen base attempt in Games 1-5.
“We were able to get the relievers in the game pretty early today and I thought that helped us get some things going, especially on the base paths,” Carroll said.
The D-backs got homers from Tommy Pham and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. as part of a three-run second inning by Phillies starter Aaron Nola. It was the third time this postseason the D-backs hit back-to-back homers, tying the 2007 Red Sox for the most in a postseason.
While they had an early lead, Kelly threw a gem, allowing one run on three hits over five innings before being removed by Lovullo.
In all best-of-seven postseason series, teams that have won Game 6 to force a Game 7 have come out on top in that winner-take-all contest 34 of 60 times (57%). Teams playing in their home stadiums are just 62-64 all-time in winner-take-all postseason games, including 30-28 in best-of-seven series.
With this D-backs team, though, you can throw out the numbers and conventional wisdom. Hell, who expected them to play in Game 7 for the right to go to the World Series?
Did Carroll when spring training started?
“I’m not,” he said with a smile.
And after dropping the first two games of the series in Philadelphia, it didn’t look like they were going to come back for Game 6, much less win one.
“It speaks volumes for the guys in this clubhouse, especially against this team,” Pham said. “It’s just sometimes when you count the team out from the start and when that team is easily behind 0-2, you get that feeling. But we’ve always felt like if we have good passing, play great defense and play our game, we can win this.”
They are a sleepless night away from it.