Diamondbacks-Phillies preview: Pitching probables for NLCS rematch

Jun 20, 2024, 7:30 PM

Lourdes Gurriel Jr....

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits a single against the Philadelphia Phillies during the second inning in Game Seven of the Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 24, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ last feeling at Citizens Bank Park was jubilation having made the World Series with a Game 7 win over Philadelphia Phillies.

Eight months removed from the postseason spectacle, the D-backs head back to Philadelphia for their first series against the Phillies since stunning the 2022 NL champions. The three-game set begins Friday afternoon and features two nationally televised games on Friday and Sunday.

The D-backs (37-38) enter the matchup 12-6 in June with the league’s highest scoring offense this month. Arizona has won three straight series as it climbs up to .500.

The Phillies (49-25) boast the best record in the National League and most home wins (29-11). They have the best team ERA in the NL (3.13) and one of the league’s deepest lineups headlined by Bryce Harper.

The Diamondbacks lost the first two games in Philadelphia during he NLCS by a combined 15-3 score, feeling the full force of that boisterous fanbase. But manager Torey Lovullo famously said his team was not flying back east to get its butt kicked, and Arizona silenced the crowd with two wins to comeback and secure the pennant.

“I think you saw last year, the only way to succeed in an environment like that is to embrace it, kind of be one with it,” D-backs pitcher Tommy Henry told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta. “Play the villain role if you want to be that way. I’m sure there’s a lot of Phillies fans that have had that series circled on their schedule, as well. That’s no surprise to us. I think we’re just going to embrace the environment and have fun.”

Diamondbacks-Phillies pitching probables

Friday, 3:40 p.m. — LHP Jordan Montgomery (5-4, 6.00) vs. RHP Taijuan Walker (3-2, 5.33 ERA)

Saturday, 1:05 p.m. — LHP Tommy Henry (2-2, 6.23) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (8-4, 2.84 ERA)

Sunday, 8:35 a.m. — RHP Slade Cecconi (2-5, 5.90) vs. LHP Cristopher Sánchez (4-3, 2.91 ERA)

The D-backs beat the Phillies off strong outings by Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt in Games 6 and 7, but neither will be available this time.

Montgomery has only pitched at Citizens Bank Park in 2020 without fans, so this will be a bit new especially with the animosity from the home crowd toward the team that took their pennant away. Montgomery has been better the past two starts (10.2 IP, 3 ER), but his adjustments will be tested.

Wheeler has been outstanding this season but is coming off a stinker in which he allowed eight earned runs to the Baltimore Orioles.

Diamondbacks-Phillies hitters to watch

D-backs: Joc Pederson has crushed Walker in his career: 11-for-26 with three doubles and a home run. He has three multi-hit games in his last five starts with two home runs. Ketel Marte was the NLCS MVP after going 12-for-31 with five extra-base hits that series, and he continues to push for an All-Star Game selection with an .848 OPS this year (1.075 in June).

Phillies: Harper and Kyle Schwarber are 10th and 14th in OPS for at 1.044 and 1.018, respectively. They each have 17 home runs this season. Schwarber was Philadelphia’s scariest hitter in the NLCS, blasting five home runs in seven games with two doubles. His platoon splits are reversed this year with two D-backs lefties on tap.

How to watch Diamondbacks vs. Phillies

This is a big streaming series, as the opener on Friday will air exclusively on Apple TV+. Tom McCarthy, John Kruk and Ryan Spilborghs will be on the call.

Sunday’s finale will air on the Roku Channel. Fans can access the game on The Roku Channel app on TVs or online. It will remain available on MLB.TV.

The radio broadcast for three games will be available on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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