Diamondbacks turn to opener Joe Mantiply for Game 4 of NLCS vs. Phillies

Oct 19, 2023, 6:54 PM | Updated: Oct 20, 2023, 11:45 am

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks will be using an opener for Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, opting for left-handed reliever Joe Mantiply.

Arizona’s plan going into the series was for some form a bullpen game in the second fixture at Chase Field, but who would get the ball first was a question mark. It will be Mantiply, who opened three games in the regular season this year. In four postseason relief appearances, Mantiply has given up three runs in three innings.

Manager Torey Lovullo said before the series was underway he would not consider using Zac Gallen on short rest, and once the Phillies took a 2-0 series lead, he reiterated it would not be an option for Game 4.

The D-backs in Tuesday’s Game 2 loss used Mantiply in relief, along with long relievers Ryne Nelson and Slade Cecconi, two young arms that primarily started at points in the regular season. They could play a part in helping Arizona get to its high-leverage relievers like Andrew Saalfrank and Ryan Thompson, along with setup man Kevin Ginkel and closer Paul Sewald. All four of those guys pitched in Thursday’s Game 3 win.

Philadelphia will counter with 26-year-old left-hander Cristopher Sanchez. He made 18 starts for the Phillies in 2023 but has not appeared in a game since Sept. 30 due to the end of the regular season and Philly not needing a fourth starter up until this point of the postseason.

Sanchez posted great numbers in his first season getting a real chance as a MLB starter, a 3.44 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.

The decision is considered a bit of a surprise, as former D-back Taijuan Walker was the presumed No. 4 in the rotation. He was signed to a four-year, $72 million deal last offseason but his 4.38 ERA and 1.31 WHIP across 31 outings are worse numbers than Sanchez. Walker has one postseason career outing, which came with the D-backs in 2017, while it will be Sanchez’s postseason debut.

Mantiply and Sanchez take the mound for a 5:07 p.m. MST first pitch time from Chase Field that you can hear on the Arizona Sports app, 98.7 and

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