June 7, 2023

4 More for the Pennant—Phillies-Padres NLCS Preview, October 18 -25


The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate a win over the Atlanta Braves after Game 4 of baseball's National League Division Series, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Phillies won, 8-3. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In St. Louis, the hero was Jean Segura. Against the Braves, it was none other than Bryce Harper. Each playoff series has told a story, and it looks like the Phillies do not want that story to reach the last chapter.

With their win over the Braves on Saturday, the Phillies advanced to the National League Championship Series for the first time since 2010. They cruised through the Cardinals with aces Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, and a lively Phillies’ offense downed the Braves in a best-of-five division series.

San Diego, though, cannot be discounted. They beat the 111-win Dodgers in their division series, shocking the baseball world. Strong pitching performances and situational hitting jolted the Padres past the Dodgers, who struggled with runners in scoring position throughout the series. The resurgence of Josh Hader, one of baseball’s best closers in 2021, has also contributed to the Padres’ success.

Hader was acquired by San Diego in August, and he wasn’t the only big deadline move the Padres made.

While Brandon Marsh, David Robertson, and Noah Syndergaard have done well filling the holes they were brought in for, Juan Soto and Josh Bell—the Padres’ two all-star trade deadline pickups—will ultimately have a larger impact. On top of this, the Padres also have perennial all-star Manny Machado at the hot corner, who killed the Phillies in the regular season.

Needless to say, beating the Padres will be much tougher of a task than their 89 wins advertise.

Status of the bullpen

The spots in the bullpen were fairly consistent throughout the National League Division Series, but one more reinforcement is on the way.

David Robertson was left off the roster for the NLDS after sustaining a calf injury while celebrating Bryce Harper’s go-ahead home run off Miles Mikolas in the Wild Card series. Robertson threw a bullpen on Monday, and Rob Thomson told the media that he has progressed at a “miraculous” rate.

During the regular season, Robertson had a 2.70 ERA in 22 games with the Phillies and a 2.23 ERA in 36 games with the Chicago Cubs. He scuffled towards the end of the season, but he threw a quick and scoreless inning in his only playoff appearance this far.

With Seranthony Dominguez, Zach Eflin, and Jose Alvarado established as the three backend relievers, it seems that Robertson will settle into a middle relief role with Brad Hand and Andrew Bellatti.

Brotherly love

They’re not going to face each other in Philadelphia, but Aaron and Austin Nola will get the opportunity to face each other for the second time in 2022.

Earlier in the season, Austin laced an RBI single off his brother, Aaron, to give the Padres a 1-0 lead in the series between the Phils and Pads in San Diego. This ended up being the only run scored in the game, making the knock off his brother that much more special. Aaron was also charged with the loss, so Austin definitely has the momentum coming into this series.

The Phillies ended up taking three of four in San Diego, as they came back to win the final two games of the series.

Now, the two brothers will get to face off for a chance at making the World Series.

Their mom told Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer that “it breaks [her] heart that someone has to lose, but it’ll be a good brotherly fight. We’ll see who wins.”

Time for the Schwarber Show

The National League home run leader hasn’t yet lifted one out in the postseason, so he is more than overdue.

Kyle Schwarber’s monster season has not translated to the postseason, and it started to show in the NLDS. Schwarber hit 46 home runs in the regular season and posted an OPS of .827, but he has just one hit in 20 at-bats between the Phillies’ two playoff series.

Atop the lineup, we’ve seen Schwarber single-handedly carry the Phillies’ offense with his power. He’s also one of the players with the most playoff experience, making it crucial that as the unofficial team leader he uses his experience to the team’s advantage. But because of this, it seems inevitable for him to start heating up eventually, leaving hope that an already hot Phillies’ offense could only get hotter.

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Zack Wheeler (RHP, 0-1, 2.19 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (RHP, 2-0, 3.00 ERA)

Game 2: Aaron Nola (RHP, 2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (LHP, 1-0, 3.12 ERA)

Game 3: TBD vs. TBD

Game 4 : TBD vs. TBD

Game 5 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD

Game 6 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD

Game 7 (if necessary): TBD vs. TBD

Note that the above statistics are from the postseason.

The numbers

  • Run Differential:
  • Phillies: 62
  • Padres: 45
  • Runs Scored Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.61
  • Padres: 4.35
  • Runs Allowed Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.23
  • Padres: 4.07

Note that the above values are from the 2022 regular season.

Game times and broadcasts

  • Tuesday, October 18, at 8:03pm ET on FOX Sports 1, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP, ESPN Radio (Game in ATL)
  • Wednesday, October 19, at 4:35pm ET on FOX, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP, ESPN Radio (Game in ATL)
  • Friday, October 21, at 7:37pm ET on FOX Sports 1, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP, ESPN Radio (Game in PHI)
  • Saturday, October 22, at 7:45pm ET on FOX, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP, ESPN Radio (Game in PHI)
  • (If necessary) Sunday, October 23, at 2:37 on FOX Sports 1, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP, ESPN Radio (Game in PHI)
  • (If necessary) Monday, October 24, at 8:03 on FOX Sports 1, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP, ESPN Radio (Game in ATL)
  • (If necessary) Tuesday, October 25, at 8:03 on TBD, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP, ESPN Radio (Game in ATL)

Game coverage will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page, and a live pregame show will be hosted on Philly Sports Reports’ YouTube channel about 35 minutes prior to first pitch of each game.

The pitching matchups, injury reports, and game times will be updated once the needed information becomes available.

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