Game 6 Preview: Will The Phillies Dance Back to the World Series?

Philadelphia Phillies vs diamondbacks
The Philadelphia Phillies pose for a picture after Game 4 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, in Philadelphia. The Phillies won 3-1 to win the series. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

On October 23rd, 2022, Bryce Harper created Bedlam at the Bank as he sent the Phillies to the World Series.

On October 23rd, 2023, the Philadelphia Phillies have a chance to go back to the World Series once again.

Heading home with a 3-2 series lead, the Phillies are just one win away from winning back-to-back National League pennants. The Phils got the job done in Game 5 in Arizona and just need to win one of the final two games to advance.

With Aaron Nola on the mound, will the Phillies dance their way back into the final dance?

More Pressure: Phillies or Diamondbacks?

The Diamondbacks have to win to stay alive in this series. They cannot lose Game 6 and will throw everything they have at the Phillies to try and force a Game 7.

With that in mind, you would expect the pressure to be more on Arizona’s shoulders. In my opinion, however, the pressure is on the Fightins.

This team was constructed to win a World Series. After falling short last season to the Astros, the expectation heading into this season was to get back and win this time.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Garrett Stubbs celebrates with teammates after the Phillies won an NL wild-card baseball playoff series against the Miami Marlins, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Phillies are a better team than the D-Backs. Top to bottom they have better talent (and a much higher payroll). The Phils are also home, where they have the best home-field advantage in sports. They have not yet lost at home in these playoffs.

Everything is in the corner of the Fightins. The Diamondbacks are last year’s Phillies, a team that wasn’t supposed to make it this far. Arizona is playing with house money and now that the Phillies are the favorites, the pressure is on them.

Playoff Ace = Aaron Nola

Despite the pressure being on Philadelphia tonight, I expect them to close things out and win Game 6.

Aaron Nola will take the mound in a clinching game, a spot where he has thrived for the Phillies in recent years.

Nola was on the mound in Houston to send the Phillies to the playoffs last season. Aaron pitched the clinching game in St. Louis in the NLWC in 2022. Nola started the playoff-clinching game against the Pirates this season to send them back to the playoffs. Aaron would then pitch the clinching game in the NLWC series against Miami.

When there is a chance to advance, Aaron Nola is your man.

In 3 starts this post-season, Nola has pitched 18.2 innings, 12 hits, 2 earned runs, and 19 strikeouts in those games.

He is pitching like an ace and I expect that trend to continue in Game 6.

Game Preview

Aaron Nola (3-0) 0.96 ERA vs Merrill Kelly (1-1) 3.00 ERA

The Phillies announced their lineup for tonight’s game.

Kyle Schwarber DH
Trea Turner SS
Bryce Harper 1B
Alec Bohm 3B
Bryson Stott 2B
JT Realmuto C
Nick Castellanos RF
Brandon Marsh LF
Johan Rojas CF

The entire bullpen will be at Thomson’s disposal tonight.

I would expect Jeff Hoffman and Jose Alvarado to be used aggressively in this game, with Craig Kimbrel likely to not be used in a high-leverage spot.

I would think Strahm and Dominguez come in before Craig in a tight spot, and I do not have a pulse on Orion Kerkering’s usage in this game.

All we can do now is sit back and watch as this unfolds. Game 6’s first pitch is scheduled for 5:07 pm EST on TBS.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)