Phillies vs. D-backs in the NLCS: A Clash of Underdogs
When the 2023 MLB season began, no one could have predicted that the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks would be facing each other in the National League Championship Series (NLCS). Most expected teams like the Dodgers, Braves, Mets, or Padres to be the contenders. However, here we are with the defending NL champions, the Phillies, known as Team Vibes, and the underdog newcomers, the D-backs. This unexpected matchup is incredibly exciting, especially when you consider the talent on both teams.
Let’s start with the catchers. J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies has long been considered one of the best catchers in the game. However, his performance has slightly declined this year, both offensively and defensively. On the other side, the D-backs have Gabriel Moreno, who excels at throwing out base stealers and has been hitting exceptionally well in the postseason. While Moreno may not be a star like Realmuto yet, he has the potential to make a significant impact.
Heading over to first base, the D-backs have Christian Walker, a stellar defensive player who has been hitting home runs consistently. However, Bryce Harper of the Phillies is the real superstar in this position. Despite Walker’s defensive superiority, Harper’s offensive numbers this season and his track record of success take the edge in this matchup.
In the second base position, Ketel Marte of the D-backs has been performing exceptionally well in the postseason, showcasing his power hitting skills. Bryson Stott of the Phillies, while excelling defensively, has been average at the plate. If the D-backs want to advance, Marte will have to play a crucial role in their success.
At shortstop, Trea Turner of the Phillies has been absolutely outstanding, both offensively and on the basepaths. Geraldo Perdomo of the D-backs has had some highs and lows this season, and his defensive abilities will be interesting to watch against Turner’s skills.
In the third base position, Alec Bohm of the Phillies has performed slightly better than Evan Longoria of the D-backs, both in the regular season and the postseason. While Longoria brings experience to the table, Bohm’s overall performance puts him ahead in this matchup.
In left field, the Phillies have Kyle Schwarber, who has been exclusively serving as a designated hitter in the postseason. The D-backs’ platoon of Cristian Pache and Brandon Marsh brings strong defensive skills to the table. While Marsh has been hitting well against right-handed pitchers, Pache’s bat raises questions. Ultimately, the Phillies have a slight advantage in this position.
Center field is a closer matchup. Johan Rojas of the Phillies has shown promise in his short time in the Majors, both offensively and defensively. Alek Thomas of the D-backs hasn’t had the strongest hitting performances in recent seasons, but his defensive skills are commendable. Rojas’ slightly superior offensive numbers and better defensive ratings give the edge to the Phillies in this position.
Finally, in right field, Nick Castellanos of the Phillies has had a historic performance in the NLCS, hitting multiple home runs in back-to-back games. However, Corbin Carroll of the D-backs, who is likely to win NL Rookie of the Year, has consistently outperformed Castellanos throughout the season and in the playoffs. Carroll’s well-rounded skills, both offensively and defensively, give the Phillies a significant advantage.
Ultimately, while the D-backs have shown their strengths as underdogs, the Phillies have the upper hand in most positions. However, anything can happen in the postseason, and both teams will undoubtedly give their all to secure a spot in the World Series.
David Rodriguez brings the excitement of Major League Baseball to readers. With a deep appreciation for America’s pastime, he covers the latest MLB news, scores, and player achievements, keeping fans up to date with their favorite teams and players.