Phillies vs. Diamondbacks NLCS predictions, pitching matchups and what you need to know

For the second consecutive season, both the Braves and the Dodgers dominated the regular season, hinting at a potential matchup in the National League Championship Series. However, once again, their plans were thwarted by in-division rivals. The Braves were blitzed by the Philadelphia Phillies, while the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that won significantly fewer regular-season games than the Dodgers, swept them in the National League West.

The domination of these Wild Card entrants has sparked discussions about the expanded postseason format, but let’s save that discourse for another day. The fact that the Phillies and the Diamondbacks are playing in the NLCS is a testament to their exceptional performance this season. The Phillies boast a star-studded lineup and a home-field advantage at Citizens Bank Park that is second to none. However, the Diamondbacks are unlikely to be intimidated by this stage. Their aggressive style of play often leads to opponents making mistakes.

Corbin Carroll, Ketel Marte, and Christian Walker may not have the same name recognition as Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Nick Castellanos, but they can cause significant problems for any pitching staff. Carroll had an impressive rookie season, hitting 25 homers, 30 doubles, and 10 triples. Walker is underrated as a hitter, and Marte has excelled in October with a .318 batting average. The challenge for the Diamondbacks will be finding enough pitching to match the Phillies. Both teams will likely rely on their top two starters – Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly for Arizona, and Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola for Philadelphia – in four games. However, the Phillies are expected to have a significant advantage in the other three contests. While the Diamondbacks have shown no signs of being rattled, they are a young club that has never advanced this far in the postseason. In contrast, the Phillies reached the World Series last season.

Here are the game times for the NLCS:
– Game 1: Diamondbacks at Phillies, Monday, Oct. 16, 8:07 p.m. ET, TBS
– Game 2: Diamondbacks at Phillies, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 8:07 p.m. ET, TBS
– Game 3: Phillies at Diamondbacks, Thursday, Oct. 19, 5:07 p.m. ET, TBS
– Game 4: Phillies at Diamondbacks, Friday, Oct. 20, 8:07 p.m. ET, TBS
– Game 5: Phillies at Diamondbacks, Saturday, Oct. 21, 8:07 p.m. ET, TBS (if necessary)
– Game 6: Diamondbacks at Phillies, Monday, Oct. 23, 5:07 p.m. ET*, TBS (if necessary)
– Game 7: Diamondbacks at Phillies, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 8:07 p.m. ET, TBS (if necessary)
(*If the ALCS finishes by Mon., Oct. 23, the NLCS Game 6 will move to 8:07 p.m. ET.)

Now let’s take a look at how the teams match up:

Tale of the Tape:
Teams | Runs/Game | SP ERA | RP ERA | Defense
Diamondbacks | 4.60 | 4.67 | 4.22 | 46 DRS
Phillies | 4.91 | 4.30 | 3.56 | -25 DRS

Diamondbacks Top Performers:
– Lineup: 25 HR, 54 SB, 134 OPS+, 6.0 WAR
– Rotation: 3.47 ERA, 0.94 HR/9, 5.2 WAR
– Bullpen: 2.48 ERA, 50.3 GB%, 1.7 WAR
– Fielding: 20 DRS

Phillies Top Performers:
– Lineup: .293/.401/.499, .384 wOBA, 3.3 WAR
– Rotation: 3.61 ERA, 26.9 K%, 5.9 WAR
– Bullpen: 1.74 ERA, 37.2 K%, 1.3 WAR
– Fielding: 15 DRS, 4.2 UZR

Pitching Matchups:
Assessing pitcher quality can be subjective, but if we focus purely on on-field performance, Gallen and Kelly were top-five pitchers in the NL, followed by Wheeler at sixth and Nola at twentieth. However, if we look at pitcher outs like strikeouts, walks, pop-flies, and homers, Wheeler ranked first, Nola seventh, Gallen third, and Kelly twelfth. The Phillies have the advantage in overall depth with a strong bullpen, featuring pitchers who can throw 96+ with wicked breaking balls.

Why the Diamondbacks will win:
The Diamondbacks have defied expectations as underdogs and emerged as one of the most dangerous teams in the postseason. Their offense has been exceptional, overwhelming opposing starting pitchers. Additionally, their aces Gallen and Kelly provide a strong presence in the rotation. If their bullpen can continue its impressive performance and depth, the Diamondbacks have a great chance of advancing to the World Series. They have the added motivation of seeking their first championship in 22 years.

Why the Phillies will win:
The Phillies’ four-game sweep of the Braves not only allowed them to rest but also gives them the advantage of arranging their pitching rotation for this series. With Wheeler and Nola pitching at home, the Phillies have the upper hand. Their roster is deeper and more talented than the Diamondbacks’, which gives them a significant advantage in a seven-game series. While the Diamondbacks pose a threat, the Phillies’ superior quality across the board should lead them to victory.


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