1. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. once again struggles under pressure
A strong season from 30-year-old Lourdes Gurriel Jr. earned him his first career All-Star berth. In the postseason, he entered Game 2 slashing .200/.360/.560 with five hits, one home run, four RBIs, and six strikeouts. It has been a bumpy road, and he hit a pothole in Game 1 of the NLCS with a grave 0-for-4 performance.
It... wasn't much better in Game 2. Again, he left runners stranded when the Diamondbacks had few opportunities to score. Arizona only had two baserunners once all game, in the third inning, and it ended scoreless with a Gurriel out. On the night, he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Gurriel can't be blamed for getting the only real chance with a runner in scoring position, but sometimes, that's how the cookie crumbles. He's the All-Star and a leader on the team. If he can't execute under pressure, the Diamondbacks are in for a long NLCS.
Arizona now heads home in dire need of a victory. The lineup has been smacking dingers all postseason and putting serious pressure on elite offenses in Los Angeles and Milwaukee, but Arizona has run headlong into a brick wall in Philadelphia. Remove the Phillies' home-field advantage, however, and the outlook is a bit brighter for the D-Backs. Still, Arizona has to play perfectly at home and steal one in Philly to win this series. That's a difficult challenge.