NLCS Game 4 Preview: Phillies Look To Fight Back in Arizona

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Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto reacts after hitting a home run against Miami Marlins pitcher David Robertson during the fourth inning of Game 2 in an NL wild-card baseball playoff series, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The vibes were high heading into Game 3 of the NLCS. With a 2-0 series lead, it felt like the series was soon to be over and that the Phillies would once again be heading to the World Series.

As the night progressed, the good feeling and buzz faded into a nervous energy. Fans began to watch as the Phillies and Diamondbacks locked horns in a tight ballgame, the kind that is made for October.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, one run on three hits was not enough to carry them to a victory.

Ranger Suarez was excellent, but Arizona was able to score two runs off of the Phillies bullpen, including a walk-off single by Ketel Marte in the 9th.

The Phillies are right back at it in Game 4 of the NLCS tonight at 8:07 pm EST. Their bats will need to wake back up as they try to go up 3-1 in this series. While it may not be a must-win, a 3-1 lead is a lot better than a 2-2 series tie.

Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suarez (55) delivers during the first inning of Game 1 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Cris-tober Sanchez’s Debut

Cristopher Sanchez will be making his playoff debut when he starts Game 4 of the NLCS tonight.

Many people including myself wanted Sanchez to pitch but felt that Rob Thomson would go with Taijuan Walker for this game.

It was a pleasant surprise to see this move, but I am hoping that it pays off for the Phillies. Sanchez went 3-5 with a 3.44 ERA this season in 18 starts.

The Diamondbacks will be pitching a bullpen game, similar to what the Phillies had to do last post-season. They are starting reliever Joe Mantiply in the first inning, mostly to get Schwarber and Harper out.

After scoring just one run last night, the Phillies need their bats to come alive in this game. They have to score at least 5 in this one, especially due to the circumstances of what they are facing.

Arizona is going to exhaust their bullpen to try and even the series. If the Phillies can win this game, they will have to win one of the final three to advance. Two of those three will be at home in Citizens Bank Park, but I’d rather them finish the job in AZ.

Nap Time is Over at the Phillies Daycare

The Phillies Daycare has been a fun nickname for the young players on the team. It feels like over the course of these playoffs however, the daycare has been asleep.

Alec Bohm is hitting just .188 in this post-season for the Phillies. He has primarily batted in the four spot, which is crushing this team. Traditionally, the cleanup batter is the one who drives in runs, which has just not been the case for Bohm so far.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryson Stott reacts after hitting a grand slam against Miami Marlins pitcher Andrew Nardi during the sixth inning of Game 2 in an NL wild-card baseball playoff series, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Bryson Stott had a grand moment in the Wild Card run with his grandslam in Game 2, but Bryson has just two hits in his last five games. One of those hits was an infield popup that was dropped by the Diamondbacks, so it isn’t the most encouraging sign.

Bryson and Alec were key contributors to this offense all season long. While Schwarber, Harper, Turner, and Castellanos are the big guns, this lineup is going to rely on the young guys in moments like these.

If the Phillies want to win the World Series, these two must hit better for the Phillies. If they continue to struggle, Rob Thomson should shake up his lineup.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)