The Phillies are channeling Philadelphia icon Rocky Balboa, and they have the Arizona Diamondbacks on the ropes in the National League Championship Series. The Phils hold a 2-0 series lead as Game 3 will be played in the desert on Thursday night. Odds have the D’Backs as +640 longshots to come back to capture this series and the pennant.
The Phillies are riding a power wave as fearsome as a Rocky uppercut: the team has clobbered 19 home runs in its eight playoff games, and six in the first two of this NLCS. The D’Backs pitching staff must feel like a cartoon character after getting struck on the head, with stars and birds floating around their eyes. But, Arizona has home field for Games 3 and 4, and a Game 5, if necessary. Only one win would shift this series and the MLB odds.
Series Schedule, TV Coverage of NLCS
- Game 1: Phillies 5, Diamondbacks 3
- Game 2: Phillies 10, Diamondbacks 0
- Game 3: Phillies at Diamondbacks, Oct. 19, 5:07 PM ET on TBS
- Game 4: Phillies at Diamondbacks, Oct. 20, 8:07 PM ET on TBS
- Game 5:* Phillies at Diamondbacks, Oct. 21, 8:07 PM ET on TBS
- Game 6:* Diamondbacks at Phillies, Oct. 23, 5:07 PM ET, on TBS
- Game 7:* Diamondbacks at Phillies, Oct. 24, 8:07 PM ET, on TBS
The Phillies won the regular season series, 4-3.
Pitching Matchup for Game 3
Ranger Suárez (1.04 ERA, 6 K in 8.2 IP*) vs. Brandon Pfaadt (3.86 ERA, 6 K in 7 IP*)
Stats during 2023 postseason
Neither of the Game 3 starters is likely to be in the game for the fifth inning. Both have been 3-4 inning guys in this postseason, though Suárez has the stamina to go deeper if he’s dealing. Which he was last time he faced Arizona, in June. In that start, Suárez pitched seven scoreless. It was a stark improvement from his start against ARI in May, when he allowed five earned runs in five frames. In that contest, Evan Longoria went deep off the Phils’ lefthander.
Pfaadt is making his third PS start, and first since he performed well against the Dodgers last week (zero runs in 4 1/3). He will use the fastball, slider, and change, almost exclusively. His hard-hit percentage ranks in the bottom third of the league, which is the bad way to be. That means hitters do square him up. Against the Phillies, that could be devastating. The 25-year-old rookie has never faced Philadelphia. A clean slate? Sure, but it could also be a rude awakening for the D’Backs starter in Game 3.
Phillies vs Diamondbacks Game 3 Preview, Prediction, Best Bet
Win by the sword, die by the sword, right? Currently, the sword for the Phillies is the home run. They’ve hit 15 in their last four games (!). But, just as soon as your lineup gets homer-happy, that success can fade. That’s the hope the Diamondbacks must cling to for Game 3 and beyond: that their pitching staff can shut off the Phils’ power source. To win, Arizona needs to get some four-baggers of its own.
Calling Christian Walker! Calling Corbin Carroll! Calling Lourdes Gurriel Jr.! Those three, who combined for 82 HR in the regular season, are 2-for-22 in the NLCS. Both hits have been singles. That’s not going to get the job done. The Snakes need venom from that trio, even two of them, if they are to slither back into this series.
Game 3 Pick: The Phillies have shown us their power and enthusiasm the last two Octobers, but they’ve never made it easy. Last season, they lost a game on the road in the NLCS, and we think they’ll lose at least one this time too. Take the D’Backs to grab Game 3, in a close, come-from-behind victory at the expense of the Phillies’ bullpen.
Bet the Diamondbacks on the money line, where you’ll likely find odds in the +110 to +118 range (Best Live Odds: ).