LIVE: Phillies vs. D-backs NLCS Game 5 FAQ, lineups (TBS)

October 21st, 2023

PHOENIX -- After using a combined 16 pitchers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series on Friday night, the Phillies and the D-backs understand that Game 5 will likely come down to which team receives the best and longest performance from its ace.

Zack Wheeler and Zac Gallen, who matched up Monday night in Game 1 in Philadelphia, will return to the mound for Game 5 on Saturday after the D-backs evened the series, 2-2, with a come-from-behind victory at Chase Field.

“You come back tomorrow and play good baseball, and you get your ace on the mound,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “I think that’s the best way to do it.”

Wheeler has certainly been Philadelphia’s ace in every sense of the word. Through three postseason games, he holds a 2.37 ERA with 26 strikeouts and just one walk. Wheeler and Nathan Eovaldi are the only pitchers to deliver at least six innings in three playoff starts.

But Gallen was arguably the more impressive pitcher during the regular season, serving as Arizona’s unquestioned ace. Part of manager Torey Lovullo’s calculus in proceeding with a bullpen game on Friday was knowing that Gallen could give the team length in Game 5. The D-backs will be relying on precisely that.

“I feel like where I'm at, I would be doing myself and the guys in that clubhouse a disservice if I was just like, ‘I'm going to conserve the energy,’” Gallen said. “[I’m] trying to still be smart about it. But I feel pretty good in terms of my tank.”

When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 5 will be at 8 p.m. ET (5 MST) on Saturday 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: RHP Zack Wheeler
There is nobody the Phillies would rather have on the mound in Game 5 than Wheeler, who allowed two runs in six innings in Game 1. Wheeler is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts this postseason. He is 3-3 with a 2.63 ERA in nine career postseason starts. It’s the 15th-lowest ERA in history among pitchers with at least nine postseason starts.

Wheeler’s 0.70 WHIP is the best in the postseason. Christy Mathewson (0.89), Bob Gibson (0.89), Madison Bumgarner (0.90) and Cliff Lee (0.93) round out the top five.

D-backs: RHP Zac Gallen
Gallen started Game 1 of this series and allowed five runs (including three home runs) over five innings, but he is someone whom the D-backs have a ton of confidence in. Over the course of the regular season, he was 17-9 with a 3.47 ERA.

What are the starting lineups?
Phillies: Entering Game 4 on Friday, there were 384 players who saw 150 or more pitches in a single postseason from 2008-23. Nobody among them had seen fewer pitches in the strike zone than Harper in 2023. He saw a pitch in the zone in only 48 of 158 pitches (30.8 percent). Teams have had the same philosophy: Don’t let Harper beat us, regardless who is hitting around him in the lineup. For that reason, the Phillies kept the same lineup they have been using this postseason against right-handed pitchers.

D-backs: Lovullo tweaked his lineup for Games 3 and 4, sitting Alek Thomas and moving Gabriel Moreno up in the order. Thomas, whose two-run eighth-inning homer tied Game 4, slots back in against a right-handed pitcher and Pavin Smith will be the DH.

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Phillies: That’s the million-dollar question following back-to-back losses shouldered by Craig Kimbrel. The Phillies will discuss whether to continue using him in high-leverage spots as the series deepens, though he likely wouldn’t be available to pitch on a third straight day in Game 5 anyway. Orion Kerkering, José Alvarado and Jeff Hoffman have also pitched in each of the past two games, putting their availability in question.

D-backs: Arizona completed a bullpen game in Game 4, with all of its leverage relievers seeing action. Still, Lovullo said after the game that he expected everyone to be available for Game 5. The D-backs will likely need fewer innings from the ‘pen with Gallen on the mound.

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 singled in the first inning in Game 4. He has a hit in each of his first 10 games this postseason. He was caught stealing later in the inning. He was 34-for-34 on stolen-base attempts this season, including the postseason. … Schwarber hit his fourth homer of the series in Game 4. His 19 career postseason homers are the most in MLB history by a left-handed batter; Reggie Jackson had 18. … Kimbrel’s and Kerkering’s struggles in the bullpen have cost the Phillies two games.

D-backs: Moreno drew a pair of walks and drove home two runs, one of which proved to be the game-winner. Thomas had not been swinging the bat well in the series, but his pinch-hit two-run homer in Game 4 gets him listed here. Marte has been a consistent force for Arizona throughout the playoffs. He has now hit safely in 13 straight postseason games. That ties him with Greg Luzinski for the second-longest hitting streak to open a postseason career; Marquis Grissom has the longest one at 15.