Here we are. October 3.
Not like the scene from ‘Mean Girls’, it is Game 1 of the Phillies playoff run.
The Miami Marlins’ magic carpet ride lands them in Citizens Bank Park to take on the Phillies in the best-of-three Wild Card series. It all gets started Tuesday night at 8:08 p.m. EDT.
Here is the Phillies’ starting lineup for Game 1:
- Kyle Schwarber DH
- Trea Turner SS
- Alec Bohm 3B
- Bryce Harper 1B
- J.T. Realmuto C
- Nick Castellanos RF
- Bryson Stott 2B
- Cristian Pache LF
- Johan Rojas CF
Turner (elbow) is back in the lineup. He sat out of Sunday’s regular-season finale after taking a pitch off his left elbow Saturday, but there was never much concern about his readiness for Tuesday.
Pache gets the start in left field with the left-hander on the mound. During the regular season, Pache slashed .314/.375/.549 with a .924 OPS in 57 plate appearances against lefties. The Phils could have gone with Weston Wilson in left Tuesday, who was called up for the final weekend, made the postseason roster, and has reached base in eight of 16 plate appearances as a big-leaguer, but the Phillies are instead optimizing for defense. In his place, Brandon Marsh gets the night off. Marsh has not faced a left-hander since August.
I am a big fan of Stott starting Tuesday, as well. The lefty-hitting second baseman usually sits when a southpaw is on the bump. However, manager Ronb Thomsan will keep him in there for the postseason. This is the right move, especially considering Stott’s splits are better against lefties. In 149 at-bats, Stott slashed .282/.347/.383 with a .730 OPS against lefties.
The Phils will face 26-year-old left-handed pitcher Jesús Luzardo in Game 1 on Tuesday. In the regular season, he recorded a record of 10-9 with a 3.63 ERA in 178.2 innings. He struck out 208 batters, finishing with a 1.22 WHIP. In 2023, Luzardo started against the Phillies twice and got the win in both games. He added up 12.1 innings and allowed 12 hits, five earned runs, two home runs, three walks, and 14 strikeouts.
Here is the Marlins’ starting lineup for Game 1:
- Luis Arraez 2B
- Jorge Soler DH
- Josh Bell 1B
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. CF
- Jake Burger 3B
- Bryan De La Cruz LF
- Jesus Sanchez RF
- Jon Berti SS
- Nick Fortes C
Second baseman Luis Arraez is in the lineup and leading off for Miami. The 2023 National League batting champion had just one at-bat after September 23 because of a nagging ankle injury. He hit for the cycle in Philadelphia on April 11 and batted .347 against the Phillies this season, actually lower than his overall .354 batting average.
Right-hander Zack Wheeler gets the start for the Phillies. Since joining the Phillies, Wheeler has faced the Marlins eight times and has a 3.64 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 47 innings. He’s allowed just five home runs, three this year to Josh Bell, Jazz Chisholm, and the since-traded Garrett Cooper. He faced Miami three times this season and pitched six innings each time, allowing one, two, and three runs with 23 strikeouts and four walks.
The Phillies have exactly who they want on the mound to begin the postseason.