LIVE: Phillies-D-backs NLCS Game 4 FAQ, lineups (TBS)

October 20th, 2023

PHOENIX -- In the hours after the Phillies won Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, Philadelphia’s talk-radio airwaves radiated with confidence. Quick scans of social media revealed a similar notion of inevitability: The D-backs had little chance to make this a series.

Less than 48 hours later, they made it a series with a 2-1 victory in Game 3 on Thursday at Chase Field.

Now both teams will turn to Game 4 on Friday in Arizona, understanding the importance of what’s always a crucial swing game in a best-of-seven series. Should the Phillies win it, they’ll hold a commanding 3-1 lead with three cracks -- two of them at home -- to nail down the pennant. Should the D-backs win, they’ll even things up, 2-2, with their best pitchers fully rested and all the momentum on their side.

“We didn’t want to go down 3-0,” said Brandon Pfaadt, Arizona’s Game 3 starter. “I think having it 2-1 helps us in a lot of ways.”

Both clubs will employ some semblance of a bullpen game Friday at Chase Field, adding to the unpredictability of that matchup. Left-hander Cristopher Sánchez will start for the Phillies with the ability to provide at least some length, while the D-backs plan to open with lefty Joe Mantiply and then mix and match throughout the evening.

Given what just occurred in Game 3, both teams will enter Friday night feeling confident. Both don’t underestimate Philadelphia’s ability to wrest back the momentum after it dominated the D-backs in Games 1 and 2. Asked about flushing Thursday’s result and moving on quickly, Phillies outfielder Brandon Marsh replied simply: “We already did.”

Added Phillies manager Rob Thomson: “What are you going to do? I’m going to think about coming in here tomorrow and get ready to compete.”

When is the game and how can I watch it? 
Game 4 will be at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. MST) on Friday at Chase Field, airing on TBS.

All series are available in the U.S. on MLB.TV with authentication to a participating Pay TV provider. Games are available live internationally (except in Canada). Full game archives are available approximately 90 minutes after the game ends.

Who are the starting pitchers?
Phillies: LHP Cristopher Sánchez
The Phillies had a choice between right-hander Taijuan Walker or Sánchez, and they chose the lefty because he pitched better down the stretch. Sánchez has not pitched since Sept. 30, however, so nobody knows how sharp he will be or how deep he can pitch in the game.

The D-backs hit Corbin Carroll second in Game 3. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Phillies try to get Sánchez through 11 batters, then go to the bullpen.

“We have all the confidence in all our young guys to go out there and do their job,” Phillies star slugger Bryce Harper said. “Sanchy is the same thing. I think he’s throwing the ball really well lately. This will be his first start in a minute, but we’re confident. We feel like he can go out there, throw strikes and keep us in it and let our bullpen take care of it.”

D-backs: LHP Joe Mantiply
Mantiply will serve as an opener or the beginning of a bullpen game. He gives the D-backs a left-on-left matchup against Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper in the first inning. Mantiply has served as an opener three times this year and has allowed one run in three innings.

What are the starting lineups?
Phillies: If Mantiply was a true left-handed starter, then Cristian Pache would start in left field over Marsh. But Mantiply is an opener, so Marsh starts in left field. 

D-backs: Facing a left-hander, manager Torey Lovullo utilized a lineup similar to the one he used against Ranger Suárez in Game 3.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter? 
Phillies: Craig Kimbrel threw 24 pitches in a rough ninth inning in Game 3. José Alvarado recorded six outs, although he threw only 15 pitches. Jeff Hoffman threw only nine pitches. Orion Kerkering threw eight. It wouldn’t be surprising to see any of those pitchers used in Game 4, if needed. But Thomson hates using pitchers three consecutive days, so if any of them pitch Friday, they might not be available on Saturday in Game 5.

D-backs: It will be all hands on deck. Lovullo could turn to either Ryne Nelson or Slade Cecconi to handle the bulk innings. But as he showed with how he handled Pfaadt in Game 3, Lovullo will not be shy about going to the ‘pen at the first sign of trouble. Look for lefty Andrew Saalfrank and righties Ryan Thompson, Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald to each see work.

Any injuries of note?
Phillies: Rhys Hoskins is on the 60-day injured list following left ACL surgery in March. Hoskins is in Clearwater, Fla., where he’s continuing to rehab and face live pitching as part of Philadelphia's stay-ready group. If the Phillies advance to the World Series, there’s a chance that Hoskins could be added to the roster then.

Right-hander Dylan Covey is on the injured list with a lower-back injury.

D-backs: Outfielder Jake McCarthy was removed from the roster just before Game 1 of the Wild Card Series after suffering a strained right oblique. He is not expected back.

Who’s hot, who’s not?
Phillies: Turner has a hit in each of his nine games this postseason and has a 1.408 OPS. … Despite being held hitless in Game 3, Harper has a 1.324 OPS and Castellanos has a 1.205 OPS. Marsh doubled in Game 3. He has a 1.032 OPS this postseason.

D-backs: Marte, who delivered the game-winning hit in Game 3, has a 12-game hitting streak to start his postseason career. Only two players have started with a longer postseason streak -- Marquis Grissom, who hit in 15 straight from 1995-96, and Greg Luzinski, who hit in 13 straight from 1976-80.