Philadelphia Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups for NLCS Game 5 (10/21/23)
The NLCS between the Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks is all tied up at 2 games apiece with the pivotal game 5 on Saturday (10/21/23) at 8:07pm ET. Despite losing 2 games in a row, the Phillies are once again the betting favorites at -130 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 8.0 runs.
Continue below for Phillies vs. Diamondbacks analysis, predictions and betting picks and find out why the best bet in game 5 is the Diamondbacks moneyline.
Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Prediction NLCS Game 5
Starting pitchers: RHP Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.34 ERA this postseason) vs. RHP Zac Gallen (2-1, 4.96 ERA)
What happened to the Phillies?
The components of the team that rampaged through the first 8 games of the postseason have suddenly disappeared. The red-hot bats that had been setting postseason records for home runs and slugging went silent in game 3. The bullpen that had a sensational 1.09 ERA over those first 8 games has now blown leads on back-to-back nights.
The Diamondbacks have taken all the momentum in this series, and the Phillies are facing some serious questions. Can they still trust Craig Kimbrel after 2 blown saves? Can they even use him again? Do they need to shake up the lineup to give the offense a jolt?
With all of that as the backdrop, we start all over again tonight with a best-of-3 series and both team’s aces back on the mound. Both starters will be under pressure to not only pitch well but also to pitch efficiently and go deep into the game after yesterday’s bullpen game taxed both relief staffs. Each team used every single one of its high-leverage arms last night, some of whom have now pitched two days in a row and may not be available tonight.
Zack Wheeler has been historically great in the postseason for the last 2 years. His 2.63 postseason ERA over 9 starts (54-2/3 innings) is the 15th best in MLB history among pitchers with a similar sample size, while his 0.70 WHIP is the best in postseason history. To put that WHIP into perspective, it is nearly 2 tenths of a point better than the next best pitchers on the list, who happen to be legendary Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Christy Mathewson (each posted a 0.89 postseason WHIP in their careers).
Lowest opponents’ OPS (min. 9 postseason starts)
1. Zack Wheeler .445
2. Christy Mathewson .512
3. Art Nehf .516
4. Bob Gibson .535
5. Nathan Eovaldi .544
6. M. Bungarner .544
7. Cliff Lee .547pic.twitter.com/YIxKbggees
— (@RochesRWinners) October 17, 2023
Zac Gallen was arguably the better pitcher during the regular season this year, but there is no arguing that Wheeler has been the more dominant postseason arm. The Phillies scored 5 runs off Gallen in game 1 of this series, including 3 home runs. But that game was in Philadelphia, and Gallen has been much better at home this season (2.47 ERA vs. 4.42 on the road). This will be Gallen’s first postseason start at Chase Field.
We have confidence that Wheeler will outpitch Gallen again tonight. He was better on the road this season and 6 of his 9 postseason starts have come on the road, so neither the moment nor the atmosphere will faze him. However, we expect both pitchers to pitch well deep into this game, and it’s likely going to come down to the final innings once again.
The Phillies have too many concerns in the bullpen right now to like their chances of pulling out the victory late in this game. The Diamondbacks’ bullpen has been better in this series, and their bats have been hotter, especially in clutch situations. That makes the Diamondbacks’ moneyline the best bet in this game. Head over to DraftKings to get the best odds on that bet, which are +114 as of this writing.
We recommend staying away from betting the total in this game. With the two aces on the mound, it would be natural to bet the under. However, these teams have scored 3 runs and 5 runs, respectively, in the 7th inning or later of the last 2 games. Even if the aces do their job (which doesn’t necessarily mean zero runs), there is too much potential for late runs to feel confident betting the under, but we also can’t confidently bet the over given the pitching matchup.
Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Game 4 Prediction: Diamondbacks win 5-4 | Best bet: Diamondbacks moneyline (+114)
Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Odds
The Phillies are the betting favorites at -130 on the moneyline, while the Diamondbacks have +110 moneyline odds as home underdogs.
The Phillies are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +135 odds, while the Diamondbacks are getting +1.5 runs at -160 odds.
The over/under is set at 7.5 runs at BetMGM with -120 odds on the over and +100 odds on the under. Most other sportsbooks have that number at 8.0 with -105 odds on the over and -115 on the under.
Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide game 5 between the Phillies and Diamondbacks.
Zack Wheeler vs. pitch count
The concerns in the back of the Phillies’ bullpen are the main reason we picked the Diamondbacks’ moneyline in our Phillies vs. Diamondbacks prediction. The best way for the Phillies to mitigate that concern is to simply eliminate it by Zack Wheeler going deep into this game.
Wheeler did not pitch a complete game all season. He pitched 8 innings one time and pitched into the 8th inning one other time, though he did pitch at least 7 innings 7 other times. The Phillies probably need him to do at least that tonight to give their bullpen a break and to avoid using relievers they can’t trust right now, like Kimbrel and rookie Orion Kerkering. Wheeler has only recorded 21 outs one time in his 9 career postseason starts, which happened to be on the road in the NLCS last year.
Despite his overall dominance in the postseason so far, Wheeler has started to wear down around the 6th inning of his last 2 starts, when he threw 92 and 81 pitches, respectively. He gave up a 2-run homer to Geraldo Perdomo in the 6th inning of game 1 of this series, and gave up a 2-run homer in the 7th inning of game 2 against the Braves.
Manager Rob Thomson might need to let Wheeler continue pitching even if something similar happens tonight, but his track record does not suggest he will do that. Even if he does, Wheeler needs to reward that trust by getting a few more critical outs before he exits the game.
As noted above, we expect this game to come down to the final outs, and the team whose bullpen performs better will likely win the game. The million-dollar question for the Phillies is who they will (and can) use in those high-leverage situations.
Kimbrel, Kerkering, José Alvarado and Jeff Hoffman have pitched two days in a row, and Thomson does not like using relievers three days in a row. He might not have a choice tonight, though it would be surprising if we see Kimbrel or Kerkering after back-to-back bad outings by both of them.
That means the Phillies could be relying on some of their less-used bullpen arms like Gregory Soto and possibly Michael Lorenzen. They are also expected to have game 3 starter Ranger Suárez available in the bullpen tonight. He pitched well in 2 relief appearances last postseason, including a similar situation in between starts.
The Diamondbacks are in a slightly better situation in their bullpen. Not only have their best arms been better than the Phillies’ top guys, but they also should have everyone available tonight, even after using all of them in yesterday’s bullpen game.
The advantage goes to Arizona in this matchup, and that could be all the advantage they need to take a 3-2 series lead.
Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Starting Lineups (Projected)
Phillies Starting Lineup
DH Kyle Schwarber (L)
SS Trea Turner (R)
1B Bryce Harper (L)
3B Alec Bohm (R)
2B Bryson Stott (L)
C J.T. Realmuto (R)
RF Nick Castellanos (R)
LF Brandon Marsh (L)
CF Johan Rojas (R)
Diamondbacks Starting Lineup
CF Corbin Carroll (L)
2B Ketel Marte (S)
C Gabriel Moreno (R)
1B Christian Walker (R)
DH Tommy Pham (R)
LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R)
CF Alek Thomas (L)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
SS Geraldo Perdomo (S)