Former Arizona pitcher Kevin Ginkel key contributor to D-Backs reaching World Series

Kevin Ginkel lets out a scream after striking out the side in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series (TBS screen shot)

From the College World Series to the World Series — Kevin Ginkel’s baseball odyssey is marked by the highest level of success in the game.

The last time Ginkel pitched for the Arizona Wildcats was on June 29, 2016, in Game 2 of the College World Series against Coastal Carolina in Omaha, Neb.

He pitched a solid seven innings, striking out 10 without a walk while scattering five hits. His pitch count reached 101, so former coach Jay Johnson took him out to start the eighth inning. Coastal Carolina went on to rally for three runs in a 5-4 win, evening the best-of-three series at a win apiece.

The Chanticleers ultimately won the title with a Game 3 win.

“Once I got through the lineup once, I went to my slider,” Ginkel told reporters at Omaha. “I had a really good command of that. They couldn’t really barrel anything up.”

Ginkel could’ve said the same thing Tuesday night after his performance in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series that helped the Arizona Diamondbacks reach the World Series for the first time since the franchise won it all in 2001.

The right-hander pitched 1 2/3 hitless innings with three strikeouts, which took place when he fanned the side in the eighth inning of the 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia.

“When it was my spot to come in, I tried to do the best I could and I did that,” Ginkel said in a postgame interview with TBS.

He has yet to allow a run this postseason in nine innings. He has posted 13 strikeouts and two walks. The Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Dodgers and Phillies managed only six hits off him.

The World Series starts Friday with the Diamondbacks playing at the Texas Rangers.

Ginkel was put to the test Tuesday when he entered in the seventh inning with runners on first and second with one out.

He got Trae Turner and Bryce Harper to fly out to center field to quell the threat.

“With Turner, you know he’s gonna be aggressive,” Ginkel said of when he went to the mound. “I feel like when they get runners on base, they’re typically aggressive, so I try and use that against them.

“Pitching against Harper, too, you know you have to make quality pitches.”

In the eighth inning, he struck out Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott and J.T. Realmuto, all of them going down swinging.

He set up closer Paul Sewald for the save in the ninth inning.

“It’s amazing,” Ginkel said. “I have no words. This is pretty emotional right now.”

Ginkel is a product of the Diamondbacks’ farm system.

He was drafted in the 22nd round by the Diamondbacks on June 9, 2016, before the Wildcats advanced to the College World Series that year.

He made his big-league debut in 2019. He spent time in Triple-A Reno in each season since, including this year when he was optioned there briefly in June.

After he returned to the Diamondbacks following 15 days in Reno, he has dominated with Tucsonan Brent Strom as his pitching coach.

He is 9-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 65 1/3 innings. He has recorded 70 strikeouts with 23 walks.

“Every single person in this organization has gotten us here,” Ginkel said. “Guys on the 40-man (roster), guys who have been up and down all year, coaches, trainers, all of our minor-league people. … They all have a hand in this.

“It’s just special. I am going to the World Series. It’s insane.”


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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