It wasn’t much of a surprise to see the Phillies handle business in the first two games of this series. Now, with Arizona back in front of their home crowd with their backs against the wall, they will need to do everything they can to slow the Phillies' momentum. The only problem with that is they already burned their top two starters, so with a rookie on the mound for Arizona, we’ll preview the game before going over why I think Philadelphia stays hot on the road.
Games one and two of this series saw each team's top two pitchers square off with each other, and the Phillies won that battle with ease. In just their third road game this postseason, Philadelphia will now be handing the ball to Ranger Suárez, who was last on the mound when the Phillies clinched the series over the Braves. He may not rack up the strikeouts like Wheeler and Nola, but the lefty has done enough in his postseason starts to earn this spot in the playoff rotation.
In 23.1 postseason innings, Suárez has pitched to a 1.16 ERA with 19 strikeouts and 13 hits allowed. Through his two starts in this playoff run, the left-hander has not been given a long leash from Rob Thompson, but he’s done the job when he is out there, putting up a 1.04 ERA in 8.2 innings against the Braves. Like with any Phillies pitcher, it also helps their lineup is hitting .284 with a .575 SLG, and .940 OPS.
Entering this series, it looked like the Diamondbacks lineup would be producing similar numbers, but they stumbled out of the gate through the first two games. In their three games against the Dodgers, the D-Backs lineup averaged a double-digit barrel rate, yet in two games this series, they’ve produced a 5.3% and 4.8% barrel percentage. Integral parts of the Arizona lineup could not get anything going in Philadelphia, as guys like Corbin Carroll and Christian Walker went a combined 2-14 in games one and two.
With the possibility of a 3-0 deficit looming, Arizona will turn to 25-year-old Brandon Pfaadt to make his third start this postseason. The rookie was pulled after allowing three earned runs in 2.2 innings during his first start, but against the Dodgers, he worked 4.1 scoreless innings with just two hits allowed.
In the first two games of this series, I’ve backed the Phillies F5 run-line, but tonight, I’ll take their full game moneyline priced at (-130) for my play. Philadelphia flexed their muscle in the first two games, and now they take on a starter who let up 22 home runs in 96 regular season innings and has a starter on the mound that, in five postseason starts, has never allowed more than one earned run in an outing.
Through nine innings this postseason, Pfaadt has allowed seven hard-hit balls, which was an issue in the regular season, as he found himself in the 16th percentile in hard-hit percentage and the 3rd percentile in barrel percentage. Not having home-field advantage shouldn’t be much of an issue for the Phillies either since Pfaadt threw 46 home innings this season and pitched to a 4.41 FIP and 4.55 xFIP.
Offensively, the Diamondbacks have just not looked like the team we saw play in the first two rounds, and I’m not sure being back home will solve their problems. Arizona went into the postseason ranked 26th in hard hit percentage and 14th in wOBA against left-handed pitching over the last month of the season, so with Suárez limiting hard contact and the Phillies bullpen being red-hot, I don’t see them breaking out today.
Philadelphia Phillies (-130)