There are just two teams left in the National League: the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies. The D-Backs took out two division winners without losing a game, while Philadelphia will look to win the NL pennant for the second consecutive year. Here’s our preview of the NLCS series between the Diamondbacks and the Phillies.
Related: 2023 MLB Season Recap: Chicago Cubs
Probable Starters and Start Times
- Game 1: Zac Gallen vs. Zack Wheeler (10/16 at 8:07 PM ET)
- Game 2: Merrill Kelly vs. Aaron Nola (10/17 at 8:07 PM ET)
- Game 3: TBD vs. TBD (10/19 at 5:07 PM ET)
- Game 4: TBD vs. TBD (10/20 at 8:07 PM ET)
- Game 5: TBD vs. TBD (10/21 at 8:07 PM ET)
- Game 6: TBD vs. TBD (10/23 at 5:07 PM ET)
- Game 7: TBD vs. TBD (10/24 at 8:07 PM ET)
- Diamondbacks: +150
- Phillies: -175
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook. As of October 16, 2023.
A Look at the Offenses
The 2023 NLCS features two teams that as of October 16 were tied for first for the most home runs (13) in the playoffs thus far.
Arizona jumped on Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller in Games 1 and 2 and then proceeded to hit four home runs off of Lance Lynn in Game 3. Corbin Carroll has continued his impressive 2023 in style, as the young outfielder entered play on the 16th with the fourth-best OPS (1.389) in the playoffs.
However, the one piece that’s proved to be invaluable to the D-Backs this October is catcher Gabriel Moreno. Moreno, acquired along with Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the deal that sent Daulton Varsho to Toronto last winter, possesses good raw strength but it didn’t show up much on the stat sheet in the regular season when he hit just seven home runs prior to October.
It has in the postseason, as the contact-over-power hitter’s belted three home runs thus far.
The Phillies, meanwhile, continue to rake at the plate. Nick Castellanos had a torrid run in the NLDS, as he hit .467 with four home runs in the Phillies’ four-game series victory over Atlanta.
Bryce Harper hit .462 with three home runs and five RBI in the NLDS, which gives him 14 career playoff home runs across 42 postseason games.
We should note, however, that Philadelphia won’t have Rhys Hoskins on the NLCS roster.
A Look at the Pitching
The Diamondbacks’ pitching staff did their job in the NLDS against the Dodgers, as Arizona held Los Angeles to six runs across the three games.
Not only has the trio of Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly, and Brandon Pfaadt given the D-Bakcs quality innings but so has their bullpen. Arizona’s crop of relievers have a 1.77 ERA in the 2023 MLB Postseason, thanks in large part to the likes of Andrew Saalfrank, Kevin Ginkel, and Paul Sewald. The acquisition of Sewald has worked out well thus far, as the former Mariner has four saves and a spotless ERA thus far.
Speaking of bullpens, Phillies relievers have a combined ERA of 1.45, second-best in the league and behind the Blue Jays — who only lasted two games in October.
As for the Phillies’ starters, Zack Wheeler’s been as advertised. Wheeler struck out 10 over 6.1 IP in Game 2 and pitched very well despite faltering late in that matchup against the Braves. Aaron Nola also looked sharp in the NLDS.
The Phillies have the depth, both at the plate and on the mound, to return to the World Series. We expect Philadelphia to win the NL pennant for the second straight year.