Preview: Phillies Need to Avoid Disaster in NLCS Game 5

Note: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, Schneps Media may earn a commission.
Phillies Zack wheeler
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) aims a pitch during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, July 7, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

Point blank, the Phillies handed away Game 4 of the NLCS.

Arizona jumped out to an early lead. From there the Phillies fought back, giving themselves a chance to win the game.

The bullpen ultimately did not do their job and for the second straight game, the D-Backs scored late to win it. With the series now sitting at 2-2, it has become a best-of-three series between these two clubs.

With Game 5 on the line tonight, the Phillies cannot afford to trail for the first time all post-season.

Moving On

Unless a secret time machine is floating around, the Phillies cannot go back in time to change Game 4. The best they can do is put their head down and go out and win in Game 5.

With the entire bullpen being used last night and this being the third straight game, the Phillies will need their ace to go deep into this game.

Zack Wheeler will take the ball in what feels like a must-win game for the Phillies.

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) works from the mound in the first inning of Game 2 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Wheeler has been dominant this post-season and you can not ask for a better performance from your best pitcher. Zack was really good in Game One of the NLCS and he will need to be even better in Game Five.

Zac Gallen will pitch for the Diamondbacks. A Cy Young candidate, Gallen had a bad outing at Citizens Bank Park in Game One. Now that he is pitching at home, the Phillies batters cannot let him get settled into the game.

Should Topper Change the Phillies Lineup?

After being extremely hot in the first two games of this series, the Phillies’ bats have gone relatively cold.

They have scored 6 runs across these two games, but are 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

Arizona handed the Phils a couple of runs in the game last night, but they cannot bank on that happening once again.

The lineup has been practically the same in each game of the playoffs:

Schwarber, Turner, Harper, Bohm, Stott, Realmuto, Castellanos, Marsh, Rojas

Schwarber and Turner have been great in this series, while Bryce and Castellanos have cooled off as the games have progressed. Bohm and Stott have been really cold, but seems like they are starting to find their swing once again. Johan Rojas had a triple last night but is hitting .086 in these playoffs.

I would not be opposed to Rob Thomson mixing up the lineup.

Schwarber, Turner, Harper, Castellanos, Marsh, Realmuto, Stott, Bohm, and Rojas would be my suggestions.

Brandon Marsh is hitting lefties and righties well in these playoffs, and he should be rewarded with a better role.

Bullpen Roles

How Rob Thomson manages the bullpen in Game Five might be the biggest question I have going into this game.

He exhausted the ‘pen last night and has yet to use both Michael Lorenzen and Taijuan Walker.

With Wheeler on the mound, you can only hope he goes at least 6 innings, if not more.

Jose Alvarado said post-game he is available to use tonight, but I think Jose may have been overused a bit in this series.

Craig Kimbrel cannot pitch in a high-leverage spot for the rest of this series. His spot should go to Jeff Hoffman, who has done really well when asked to pitch.

Thomson typically pushes the right buttons when it comes to his bullpen. Here is hoping we can get back to that in Game 5, and the Phillies can carry a 3-2 lead home to Philadelphia.