The NLCS returned to Philadelphia on Monday night, but this time with home field advantage in the Phillies favor. Game One of 2023 set up much differently than the previous year’s NLCS, as the Diamondbacks enter arguably much less talented than the Padres of the previous year. The Phillies also added some muscle in a year’s time as Trea Turner, Matt Strahm, and Taijuan Walker joined the cause.
With Zack Wheeler set to take on Zac Gallen, a pitching showcase was certainly expected. The two aces finished with similarly stellar seasons, both likely to finish top 10 in NL Cy Young voting.
Wheeler started things off with a relatively calm first inning as he navigated around a Corbin Carroll broken-bat-single.
On the flip side, there was no navigating the Phillies lineup in the bottom of the first for Zac Gallen.
Kyle Schwarber decided to instantly welcome Gallen to Philly with this tank.
The birthday boy Bryce Harper wanted a piece of the action as he crushed this ball to make it a quick 2-0.
National Bryce Harper Day continues pic.twitter.com/leHu6paJqJ— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 17, 2023
Wheeler continued to shine through three as the D-Backs remained confused at the dish. The Phillies on the other hand, remained anything but.
Nick Castellanos, who is seemingly not human, joined the hit parade in the bottom of the second with this opposite field shot.
WHAT HAS THIS MAN BEEN EATING??? pic.twitter.com/KJelMACBUr— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 17, 2023
Armed with a 3-0 lead, Zack Wheeler continued to cruise through Arizona’s lineup as the Phillies offense tacked on runs in the bottom of the third and fifth.
Wheels continued to dominate until the top of the sixth inning, where Geraldo Perdomo snuck, and I mean snuck, out a two-run home run to right field.
Nevertheless, Wheels still dominated another Postseason start.
6 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K
The snakes didn’t exactly go quiet after that either, as Seranthony Dominguez couldn’t find the zone to start the bottom half of the seventh frame. Couple that with an errant throw from Ser and we have a two run game.
Thankfully, the Phillies employ Jose Alvarado. The flame-throwing southpaw extinguished four-out-of-five batters he faced en route to a smooth end of the seventh through the eighth.
Credit to the Diamondbacks bullpen as they limited the Phils bats and kept it close through eight. Onto the ninth where Craig Kimbrel took over. The closer continued to mow down hitters in the Postseason, keeping his perfect career Postseason save record alive, now at 10/10.
Phils win 5-3 and take a 1-0 series lead in the NLCS.
Game Two: Tuesday, 8:07pm @ CBP.
Merrill Kelly vs. Aaron Nola.
We will see you tomorrow night.