Phillies vs Padres

While the matchup is unlikely, the NLCS begins with Game 1 on Tuesday night, as the San Diego Padres host the Philadelphia Phillies. The Padres are a slight favorite in Game 1 with a moneyline of -125 compared to Philadelphia’s moneyline of +105. The over/under for the game is set at 6.5 runs.

Take the Wheel

Zack Wheeler will get the ball in Game 1 for the Phillies, as he looks to build on a great postseason. He went 12-7 with a 2.82 ERA during the regular season and has allowed just three runs on six hits over 12.1 innings over his two postseason starts. While he took the loss in his last start against the Braves, Wheeler did his part to keep the Phillies in that game and will likely do the same on Tuesday.

When Wheeler faced the Padres back in May, he struck out nine batters in seven scoreless innings, yielding just four hits. While the San Diego lineup has changed since then, Wheeler has good numbers against most of the hitters he’ll face in Game 1. One exception to that is Josh Bell, who is 8 for 26 with two home runs in his career against Wheeler, as well as Jurickson Profar, who is 2 for 5 in limited at-bats against Wheeler.

Of course, the Padres haven’t exactly been clicking offensively despite winning five of their seven postseason games. Outside of a few big hits from Manny Machado, most of San Diego’s production during the playoffs has come from Trent Grisham and Austin Nola at the bottom of the order. Bell, Wil Myers, and Brandon Drury are a combined 6 for 57 (.105) in the playoffs, which is a trend that will have to change for the Phillies.

Yu Got This

The Padres will oppose Wheeler with Yu Darvish, who has been the team’s ace all season. He finished the regular season 16-8 with a 3.10 ERA and has won both of his postseason starts thus far. In his two starts against the Mets and Dodgers, Darvish has yielded four runs over 12 innings while striking out 11 batters.

He’s made two previous starts against the Phillies this year. In his first start, he tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing six hits and no walks while getting the win. However, the Phillies got to him a little bit in late June, as Darvish gave up three runs on seven hits over six innings, albeit with nine strikeouts in a no-decision that the Padres lost 8-5.

Naturally, Darvish has handled most of Philadelphia’s hitters during his career. The biggest exception to that is Why Hoskins, who is 6 for 16 (.375) with three extra-base hits in his carer when facing Darvish. Of course, Darvish will want to be wary of Bryce Harper, who is 1 for 6 with four strikeouts in his career against the San Diego ace but is batting .435 with three homers in Philadelphia’s first six postseason games.

Stay Fresh

Both teams have had a few days off, which should benefit the Padres, who have a far better bullpen pitching behind Darvish than the Phillies have behind Wheeler. The damage the bottom of San Diego’s lineup has done in the playoffs also gives the Padres more depth in that area. Bet on the Padres to eke out a tight, low-scoring win in Game 1.

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