MLB Game Preview: Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres

Oct 18, 2022

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Game: Philadelphia Phillies @ San Diego Padres

Time: 8:03 p.m. ET

Odds: Phillies +105, Padres -125

Total: 6.5

The first game of the National League Championship Series takes place Tuesday night and features two teams that traveled similar paths to get here. Both the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres underperformed for the majority of the regular season before making late pushes to secure the final two National League wild-card spots. Both teams won their wild card series then defeated triple-digit win teams in their respective divisional series.

The World Series representative will now be decided by a best-of-seven series between the two lowest-seeded teams in the National League playoffs. What’s interesting is that since two wild card teams made the NLDS, the deciding seventh game, if necessary, goes to the higher-seeded team. That will be the Padres, in this case.

The Phillies led the Padres in the race for the wild card for the majority of the final month of the regular season. The Phillies only managed to win seven of their final 20 games, while the Padres concluded with 11 victories in their final 18 contests. The late-season downturn for Philadelphia made it possible for the Padres to win the higher seed and home-field advantage.

Tonight’s Game 1 will be a right-handed pitcher showdown between Zack Wheeler of the Phillies (1-0, 2.19 ERA postseason; 12-7, 2.82 regular season) and Yu Darvish of the Padres (2-0, 3.00 ERA postseason; 16-8, 3.10). In the regular season, the Phillies went 4-3 against the Padres.

Between May 17 and 19, San Diego won two of three games in Philadelphia. Wheeler and Darvish each pitched seven shutout innings in their respective starts throughout the three-game set, which resulted in shutout victories in all three games.

From June 23 to June 26, the Phillies won three out of four games at San Diego, displacing the Padres from a tie for first place in the NL West. However, it was a costly series for the Phillies as Bryce Harper broke his left thumb in the third game after being struck by a pitch from Blake Snell, who is expected to be San Diego’s Game 2 starter.

Darvish has won both of his playoff outings this year, pitching 12 innings while surrendering just four runs on 13 hits, two walks, and 11 strikeouts. All four of the earned runs Darvish has allowed have come via solo home runs.

In the wild-card series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Wheeler pitched 6.1 innings without allowing a run. He was not involved in the decision. He lost Game 2 of the NLDS after giving up three runs on four hits, a walk, and five strikeouts in six innings against the Atlanta Braves. In seven starts versus the Padres in his career, Wheeler is 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA.

Darvish, who is 2-1 all-time versus the Phillies with a 2.23 ERA over seven starts, was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two games against them this season. He has won eight out of his last nine starts going back to August 27.

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