PHOENIX -- Up and down Broad Street, from the Sports Complex to the neighborhoods well north of City Hall, countless souls will be awaiting Game 6 of the National League Championship Series with typical Philly fervor. For the second year in a row, the Phillies have a chance to clinch the NL pennant on their home turf.
Their opponents, however, earned the nickname “Answerbacks” for a reason. As aware as they are of the Phillies’ dominance at home this postseason, the D-backs intend to keep their title hopes alive the same way they’ve done all month, this time by winning Game 6 on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
“We’re very respectful of where we’re going and the team that we’re playing,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said, understanding the gravity of a 3-2 series deficit. “But once again, we have to put it on us, on our dugout, our clubhouse and just go and do the things that we do best.”
The same goes for the Phillies and Aaron Nola, who has been routinely excellent in October. Nola is coming off six shutout innings in Game 2 and hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in a start since Sept. 9. If Nola delivers that sort of performance again, the Phillies, who are 6-0 at home this postseason, stand a strong chance of again turning their Citizens Bank Park clubhouse into a party venue. Teams leading best-of-seven series, 3-2, with the remaining games at home have gone on to win 80% of the time.
“We’re ready to get back there,” designated hitter Kyle Schwarber said. “We’re going to be ready. We’re going to be prepared.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Today's game is being televised in the U.S. 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 Merrill Kelly
Kelly battled in Game 2 of this series but allowed four runs on three hits -- all of which were homers -- and three walks in 5 2/3 innings. He and Gallen have formed a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of the Arizona rotation, but they have yet to be on the winning side of an NLCS game.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola
Nola will be a free agent after the season, and he will be paid handsomely by somebody. He has only strengthened his position this postseason, going 3-0 with a 0.96 ERA in three starts. He has struck out 19 and walked two in 18 2/3 innings.
Nola allowed three hits and struck out seven in six scoreless innings against the D-backs in a 10-0 victory in Game 2.
What are the starting lineups?
D-backs: Tommy Pham, who had previously started all of the D-backs games this postseason, didn’t get the start in Game 5, but he was back in the lineup for Game 6, batting fifth as the designated hitter.
Phillies: Facing Kelly, the Phillies are sticking with the same lineup they've used throughout the postseason against right-handers. Despite Johan Rojas' struggles and some speculation about Alec Bohm being moved out of the cleanup spot, both are back in their usual spots. Rojas is the team’s best defensive outfielder, and Phillies manager Rob Thomson values his defense.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
D-backs: The D-backs will have a fully loaded bullpen for Game 6, as none of their leverage relievers threw in Game 5. Expect Lovullo to be aggressive in going to the bullpen with the season on the line.
Phillies: The bullpen needed a break following a rough week in Arizona. If the Phillies have a lead in Game 6, don’t expect to see right-handers Craig Kimbrel or Orion Kerkering in high-leverage situations, unless absolutely necessary. Instead, those situations will fall to José Alvarado, Jeff Hoffman, Seranthony Domínguez and Matt Strahm.
Any injuries of note?
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.
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.
Who’s hot, who’s not?
D-backs: Marte continues to swing a hot bat. He extended his postseason hitting streak to 14 games, the second-longest streak to start a postseason career behind Marquis Grissom’s 15-game streak from 1995-96.
Phillies: Schwarber has hit five home runs in the NLCS, tying Chase Utley’s five homers in the 2009 World Series for the most homers in a postseason series in franchise history. … Harper hit a homer in Game 5. It’s his second homer of the series, and his fifth of the postseason. … Schwarber and Harper moved into a first-place tie with Jayson Werth for the most homers in Phillies postseason history (11).