LIVE: D-backs vs. Phillies NLCS Game 1 on TBS

October 16th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- It will be a battle of National League Wild Cards with a trip to the World Series on the line beginning Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.

While the fourth-seeded Phillies hope to reach the Fall Classic for the second straight year and hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy this time around, the sixth-seeded D-backs look to make the most of their first NL Championship Series since 2007.

Both clubs are riding momentum entering the best-of-seven matchup after eliminating a favored division rival. Philadelphia, which is 5-1 this postseason and 4-0 at home, knocked off top seed Atlanta in their NL Division Series in four games. Arizona is undefeated this postseason following sweeps of Milwaukee (NL Wild Card Series) and Los Angeles (NLDS).

“They're playing a lot like us right now,” Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto said. “They're hot. That's what the postseason is all about. You get in a rhythm. You get confidence. You get momentum, and that's something that they've really played with this postseason.

“Their lineup is really deep. They have really good right-handed hitters. They have really good left-handed hitters. They hit for power. They hit for average. They walk. They take their walks. Most of them are stealing bases. It’s definitely a challenging lineup to navigate through, but the most daunting thing about them right now is how much confidence they're playing with.”

This will mark the first postseason showdown between these two clubs. Philadelphia took the season series, 4-3, in 2023 and outscored Arizona 44-34 in the process. The pitching matchups should be a doozy, with Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler and D-backs right-hander Zac Gallen facing each other in Game 1, followed by righties Aaron Nola and Merrill Kelly in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

“It's not luck, but we're both playing really, really quality baseball at the moment,” said D-backs first baseman Christian Walker. “I'm looking forward to competing with these guys. We've had some good games against them this year. And it's a great group of guys -- looking forward to battling against them.”

When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 1 is live now from Citizens Bank Park, 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?
D-backs: RHP Zac Gallen
Gallen has been Arizona's ace all year long, and by sweeping the Dodgers in three games, the D-backs are able to set up their rotation the way they want.

Gallen made one start against the Brewers in the NL Wild Card Series and allowed two runs in the first inning, but nothing after that in going six innings. Against the Dodgers in Game 2 of the NL Division Series, he allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings and got the win. Gallen is expecting quite the cheering section to be on hand, as he grew up near Citizens Bank Park in South Jersey.

Phillies: RHP Zack Wheeler 
Wheeler was set to start Game 5 of the NLDS on Saturday in Atlanta, but with the Phillies wrapping up the series in four games, Wheeler instead will start Game 1 of the NLCS on extra rest. Wheeler went 13-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 32 regular-season starts, but he takes his pitching to another level in the postseason.

Wheeler is 2-3 with a 2.59 ERA in eight career postseason starts. There are 121 pitchers in baseball history who have started eight or more postseason games. Wheeler ranks 19th in ERA. He is first in WHIP (0.72), and it is not even close. Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson (0.85) and Bob Gibson (0.89) are second and third, respectively.

What are the starting lineups?
D-backs: Manager Torey Lovullo liked to mix and match his lineups during the regular season, but he’s pretty much stayed with the same one throughout the playoffs.

Phillies: Manager Rob Thomson will lean on left-handed hitters against Gallen, which means Brandon Marsh plays left field over Cristian Pache, and Bryce Harper hits third instead of cleanup. Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber are the only Phillies players to homer against Gallen.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter? 
D-backs: Arizona's bullpen has morphed from a weakness to a strength over the course of the season, and Lovullo has been aggressive during the postseason in how he uses his relievers. Paul Sewald, acquired at the Trade Deadline, is the closer, with Kevin Ginkel the primary setup man. Right-hander Ryan Thompson, signed after the Rays released him in August, and lefty Andrew Saalfrank, called up in September, will also see high-leverage situations.

Phillies: Thomson loves the Phils' arms and depth in the bullpen, so he will continue to be aggressive in making pitching changes in the NLCS. Right-hander Craig Kimbrel and José Alvarado have been sharing closing duties the past few weeks. Right behind them are right-handers Jeff Hoffman, Seranthony Domínguez, Orion Kerkering and Michael Lorenzen and left-handers Gregory Soto and Matt Strahm, who recorded the final out of the NLDS.

Any injuries of note?
D-backs: Moreno was removed from Game 3 of the NLDS after being hit in the right hand by a foul tip. X-rays were negative, and he will be ready to go for Game 1 of the NLCS. 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 on the NLCS roster.

Phillies: First baseman Rhys Hoskins is on the 60-day injured list following left ACL surgery in March. Hoskins was not on the team's roster for the NLCS, though Thomson has said the World Series, if the Phillies were to make it, is a more realistic goal. Even then, Hoskins would be limited to pinch-hitter duties. Hoskins is in Clearwater, Fla., where he’s continuing to rehab and face live pitching as part of Philadelphia's stay-ready group.

Right-hander Dylan Covey is on the IL with a lower-back injury. He was not expected to make the NLCS roster.

Who’s hot, who’s not? 
D-backs: It feels like the entire D-backs team is hot at the moment, but Carroll (1.389 OPS), Moreno (1.107) and Walker (1.023) all have had strong postseasons.

Phillies: Castellanos became the first player in postseason history to have back-to-back multihomer games, hitting two homers in Game 3 of the NLDS and two homers in Game 4. …. Turner is batting .500 with four doubles, two home runs and a 1.455 OPS this postseason. … Harper is batting .368 with three homers and a 1.380 OPS in the postseason.