The series-opener of the National League Championship Series begins Tuesday night, with the San Diego Padres hosting the Philadelphia Phillies. Philadelphia came into the postseason as the sixth seed in the NL, while the Padres held the fifth seed.
The first pitch of the NLCS opener is at 8:03 p.m. EST at Petco Park in San Diego, California. San Diego opens as a -125 favorite, and the over/under total is 6.5 runs.
What to Know – Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia advanced to the NLCS with playoff series victories over the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves. The Phillies wrapped up the regular season by finishing third in the NL East.
Right-hander Zack Wheeler gets the call on the mound to open the series for the Phillies. Wheeler has made a pair of starts already this postseason, pitching a shutout over 6.1 innings against the Cardinals and allowing three runs in a loss to the Braves. The 32-year-old finished 12-7 during the regular season with a 2.82 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.
Bryce Harper has owned the postseason, swatting three home runs and driving in six runs through six contests. Harper is hitting .435 with a .480 on-base percentage and has scored six runs. Nick Castellanos is right behind Harper with five RBIs.
Philadelphia ranked eighth in the MLB batting .253 as a team and averaging 4.6 runs per game. The Phillies’ pitching staff finished 18th in the majors with a 3.97 team earned run average.
What to Know – San Diego Padres
San Diego finished the regular season 22-games behind the Dodgers in the NL West but took care of its in-state rival in the NLDS. The Padres sent the New York Mets home early in the Wild Card Series.
The expected starter for the hosts is right-hander Yu Darvish. The veteran has picked up a pair of victories this postseason with wins over the Mets and Dodgers. Darvish put together a solid season with a 16-8 record, 3.10 ERA, and 0.95 WHIP.
Timely hitting has been the key to success for a Padres offense that’s hitting .239 as a team during the postseason. San Diego has nine playoff home runs, led by Trent Grisham with three. Jack Cronenworth and Jurickson Profar lead a Padres lineup with five RBIs apiece in the postseason.
The Padres scored 4.4 runs per game while ranking 16th in the league, hitting .241 as a team. The pitching staff for San Diego sported a 3.81 team ERA, 11th in the MLB.
The Pick is In
Both teams were unlikely to be in this position heading into the postseason, but that is what makes playoff baseball so special. The Phillies and Padres are now playing with house money, and one of the two highest seeds will advance to the World Series.
Philadelphia appears to be firing on all cylinders offensively and has the lineup that could give Darvish some fits. Wheeler gets it done on the mound, and the Phillies take Game 1.
The Pick: Philadelphia Phillies ML