Zack Wheeler guided the Phillies to a 2-0 win in Game 1, getting some small help via solo home runs from Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. But in the end, the Padres managed just one hit against Philadelphia’s three pitchers.
The Phillies will start workhorse Aaron Nola, who tossed over 200 innings this season with over 220 strikeouts and under 30 walks.
Good luck, Padres.
Can Blake Snell post a quality start in a desperate situation? Can the San Diego bats bounce back?
Let’s break it down. Read on for the starting lineups, predictions, and betting odds for Game 2 of the National League Championship series.
Philadelphia Phillies vs San Diego Padres Odds
The Phillies still open as slight home underdogs. However, they are also small road favorites in the first five innings, likely due to the massive bullpen advantage the Padres have.
The under has taken most of the tickets and money, but the over has seen more sharp movement. This number seems about right, however.
Philadelphia Phillies Starting Lineup
LF K. Schwarber L
1B R. Hoskins R
C J. Realmuto R
DH B. Harper L
RF N. Castellanos R
3B A. Bohm R
CF B. Marsh L
2B J. Segura R
SS B. Stott L
Philadelphia Phillies vs Blake Snell
This season, Snell was Jekyll and Hyde, turning a horrendous first half into a Cy Young-worthy second half.
Snell upped his K-BB% by almost 12 points from the first to the second half, gaining control of a fastball that was unusually hittable in the first half of the season. However, his overall numbers dropped as the xwOBA on his fastball dropped.
Image credit: Baseball Savant
Snell has a problem with avoiding hard contact, which could become an issue against this Philadelphia lineup. However, the Phillies have fully figured it out inside the batter’s box.
Nobody has more extra-base hits in the postseason than the Phillies. Brandon Marsh and Bryce Harper both have an OPS over 1.000 during this postseason run, and Schwarber hit a ball 488 feet yesterday.
Once Nick Castellanos turned it on in the second half of the season, this Phillies lineup found the necessary combination of on-base skills and hard-hit power to produce a monster playoff run.
The bad news for Snell: The Phillies had the league’s third-best wRC+ against southpaws in the second half of the season.
Plus, the defense improved from league-worst to league-average by the end of the year.
San Diego Padres Starting Lineup
LF J. Profar S
RF J. Soto L
3B M. Machado R
DH J. Bell S
2B J. Cronenworth L
1B W. Myers R
SS H. Kim R
CF T. Grisham L
C A. Nola R
San Diego Padres vs Aaron Nola
The defensive improvements have significantly helped Nola. But, unfortunately, he’s been one of the unluckiest players in baseball over the past few years, considering the Phillies’ infield and outfield performance.
Aaron Nola has a 3.89 ERA in his last 80 starts, but a 3.07 FIP. Not often you see such a large ERA-FIP discrepancy sustained over such a large sample. Says a lot about the unusually poor defense behind him.
— Foolish Baseball (@FoolishBB) October 4, 2022
However, Nola has been lucky during this postseason run. He has a 91.7% strand rate over 12 ⅔ postseason innings and has yet to allow a baserunner.
Nola does everything well, even if he doesn’t have elite stuff. He doesn’t walk batters, avoids hard-hit balls like the plague, and throws a five-pitch mix that keeps batters off balance.
The Padres should put up a fight against Nola. They can counter Nola’s elite K-BB% with elite plate discipline. The Padres don’t chase while making a ton of contact, and the addition of Juan Soto has improved their walk rate considerably.
But the Padres can’t hit the ball. Instead, they have horrific slugging numbers, including bottom-10 marks in ISO and home runs.
The Padres will make contact, but I’m not sure it will be enough to string together runs on an elite starter like Nola.
Philadelphia Phillies vs San Diego Padres Pick & Prediction
My picks: Phillies ML (+110 at PointsBet Sportsbook)
The Padres have big advantages in the bullpen and on defense, but I don’t think that will be enough to overcome the starting pitching and lineup disadvantages.
Nola is too good, and the Padres aren’t hitting the ball hard enough to overcome that. How are you supposed to beat anyone when you can’t score?
Snell is incredible, but he’s more vulnerable than Nola. And the Phillies are ready to take advantage of that, considering how good their platoon splits have been against the left side.
The Phillies will have to survive two-to-three innings of horrific bullpen play, but Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado are both available again after posting zeroes last night. Hopefully, they can pitch well against a slumping lineup again tonight and cash their ML.