Phillies NLCS
Philadelphia Phillies' Trea Turner is congratulated by Bryce Harper after hitting a home run during the sixth inning of Game 3 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Phillies face the Diamondbacks in the NLCS

The NLCS features the powerhouse Phillies and the Cinderella-story Diamondbacks.

While the Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves, the Diamondbacks swept the Dodgers. The winner of this series will walk into the World Series against the winner of the ALCS.

Phillies Game Plan: Starters need to pitch more innings

There’s a simple rule in baseball: Don’t anger players that can hit homers.

After the reporting broke about shortstop Orlando Arcia’s choice words towards DH Bryce Harper, Harper had a two-home run game.

However, the chaos surrounding Harper and Arcia has covered up a significant issue that the Phillies need to address.

Starting pitchers have pitched less than seven innings in all of their games against the Braves. Moreover, pitcher Ranger Suárez went 3.2 IP in Game 1 of the NLDS and 5.0 IP in Game 4. Aaron Nola went 5.2 IP in Game 3. In fact, Zack Wheeler is the only Phillies pitcher in the NLDS that went more than 6 innings.

When a pitcher can’t pitch into the 6th or 7th inning, the team has to use up more relievers. In a five-game series, the team has some time to recover. In a seven-game series, those few innings add up. If the Phillies want to win against the red-hot Diamondbacks, they need to score points. That’s why they have Harper, who has hit three home runs in the postseason so far.

However, it is equally as important for their starters, especially Suárez, to pitch at least six innings.

Diamondbacks Game Plan: Let the Boys Rake

The Diamondbacks put up a collective 19 runs in their three-game sweep of the Dodgers.

Christian Walker hit 33 home runs this season while Ketel Marte hit 25. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit 24 home runs. Arizona has faced All-Star pitcher Lance Lynn and multi-Cy Young pitcher Clayton Kershaw. They won against both. The Diamondbacks have faced adversity as an 84-78 team, and they have earned their way into NLCS.

The Diamondbacks also have a well-rounded pitching staff. Collectively, Arizona pitchers have only given up between two and three runs each game. That means every game for the Diamondbacks has been competitive. They always have a shot of winning.

While the Phillies have good pitchers, the Diamondbacks can knock out their starter early and take advantage a fairly worn-out bullpen. If Arizona can keep scoring early and limit the runs given up, they have a chance to walk into the World Series.

About Liana Handler

Liana Handler is a sophmore at the University of Florida, studying sports journalism.

Check Also

Ohtani To Break Silence Over Gambling Scandal

Los Angeles Dodgers star pitcher and designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is set to address the …