Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups for NLCS Game 6 (10/23/23)
The Philadelphia Phillies can punch their ticket to their second consecutive World Series when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks for game 6 of the NLCS tonight (10/23/23) at 5:07pm ET. The Phillies are heavy betting favorites at -185 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 8 runs.
This article provides Diamondbacks vs. Phillies game 6 analysis, predictions, and best bets including a recommendation to bet on the Phillies -1.5 against the spread.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Prediction NLCS Game 6
Starting pitchers: RHP Merrill Kelly (1-1, 3.00 ERA this postseason) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (3-0, 0.96 ERA)
This series is over.
When the Phillies won game 5 in Arizona behind another dominant outing by Zack Wheeler, they all but sealed back-to-back National League pennants. A team with the best record in their home ballpark in MLB history simply is not going to lose 2 games in a row at home.
The only real question is whether the Diamondbacks can force a game 7 tonight. The sportsbooks have clearly indicated that would be a very surprising outcome by making Philadelphia -185 favorites in game 6, the shortest odds the Phillies have had in any game so far in this postseason.
Arizona has the right pitcher on the mound to give them their best shot at surviving 1 more game. While Zac Gallen is considered the ace of the staff, Merrill Kelly has pitched better in the playoffs (and was also better over the second half of the season, with a 3.38 ERA compared to Gallen’s 4.03).
Kelly pitched well in game 2 of this series. While his final line didn’t look great – 4 earned over 5-2/3 innings – those numbers belie what was a solid overall effort. He allowed only 3 baserunners – all on walks – as 3 of the runs he allowed came on solo homers. The 4th run charged to him was allowed by reliever Joe Mantiply, after Kelly exited with a man on first and 2 outs in the 6th inning. All things considered, that effort was good enough to give the Diamondbacks a chance to win, but their bats just couldn’t get anything going in what became their only scoreless game of the postseason.
Therein lies the problem for Arizona tonight. Phillies starter Aaron Nola has been as dominant as any pitcher in the postseason (including Wheeler). His 0.96 postseason ERA is the second-lowest of any pitcher left in the playoffs (behind potential game 7 starter Ranger Suárez), and his 1.70 FIP is the best. He has also been incredibly clutch in the most pivotal moments.
Nola has earned the win that sent the Phillies to the playoffs in each of the last 2 seasons, allowing just 1 run over 13-1/3 innings in those 2 outings. He has also thrown 13-2/3 scoreless innings in 2 series-clinching wins in the last 2 postseasons (albeit both in the Wild Card round).
The one slight concern with Nola is that he has shown some inconsistency throughout his career, including in last year’s postseason. After two scoreless outings in his first 2 postseason starts last year, he had a 9.69 ERA in his next three starts (13 innings) and did not make it out of the 5th inning in any of those outings.
Nothing about Nola’s recent performance indicates a meltdown like that is coming, especially at home, where he has been much better this season and throughout his career than he has been on the road. But it’s not always foreseeable when the bottom is about to drop out, and his track record shows that it’s certainly possible.
We don’t expect anything close to the 10-0 blowout that happened in game 2 with these two pitchers on the mound. At the same time, barring a Nola meltdown, we would be surprised if the Phillies don’t close this out tonight.
The Phillies are now 28-11 all-time at Citizens Bank park in the playoffs, and that .718 winning percentage is the highest of any team in any ballpark in MLB postseason history (minimum 20 games). They have won 11 consecutive postseason home games against NL opponents going back to last season’s World Series run. They have a +31 run differential at home in this year’s playoffs, including +12 in the first two games of this series.
The Phillies’ moneyline doesn’t offer much value at the current odds, so the best bet in this game is the Phillies -1.5 at +110 odds. While we would prefer to get better odds for laying 1.5 runs, that is still a better bet than taking the Diamondbacks’ moneyline or +1.5.
We recommend staying away from betting the total in this game. We lean towards the over mainly because these teams are so familiar by now with the opposing team’s relief arms, and because the Phillies’ bats have been so hot at home. You can also get better odds on the over. However, this line is ultimately too close to call so focusing on the Phillies -1.5 is the way to go.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Game 6 Prediction: Phillies win 5-3, Phillies cover -1.5 (+110)
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Odds
The Phillies are heavy favorites to close out the series tonight with -185 moneyline odds, while the Diamondbacks are at +150 on the moneyline.
The Phillies are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +115 odds, while the Diamondbacks are getting +1.5 runs at -140 odds.
The over/under in this game is set at 8 runs, with equal -110 odds on both the over and the under at BetMGM. The odds slightly favor the under at other sportsbooks like DraftKings and FanDuel, and the over is at +100 at Caesars.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide game 6 between the Diamondbacks and Phillies.
Aaron Nola vs. power hitters
Our biggest hesitation with picking the Phillies -1.5 in our Diamondbacks vs. Phillies prediction is the potential for Aaron Nola to backslide from his recent dominant performances. If Nola can turn in another strong outing, then we have plenty of confidence in the Phillies’ bats doing enough damage to win by at least 2 runs.
If Nola struggles, the most likely consequence will be giving up home runs. He gave up 32 four-baggers this season, which was tied for the 7th most in the league. Nothing would hush the raucous Philadelphia crowd quite like a big Diamondbacks home run early in the game.
The other factor here is Nola going deep into this game. As we discuss further below, the Phillies’ bullpen has some major question marks after their top 3 or 4 guys. They need Nola to give them at least 6 innings to avoid using a reliever that is struggling right now, but if he gives up some hard contact and allows a home run (especially if he allows more than one), then manager Rob Thomson will probably have to go to the bullpen early. At that point, it would be anyone’s game.
The biggest question mark for the Phillies right now is in the bullpen, which blew 2 saves in games 3 and 4 in Arizona. The biggest culprits were rookie Orion Kerkering and veteran closer Craig Kimbrel. Thomson has already said he does not plan on using either of those pitchers in high-leverage situations again in this series, and he would probably prefer not to use them at all.
That means the Phillies will rely on lefties José Alvarado and Matt Strahm and righties Jeff Hoffman and Seranthony Domínguez. That should be enough to get through 3 or 4 innings if needed, but anything more would put the Phillies in a difficult situation.
The Diamondbacks’ relievers have been much more reliable, and all of their high-leverage relievers are more well-rested than the Phillies’ arms as none of them pitched in game 5. The biggest issue for the Diamondbacks’ bullpen is matching up with the Phillies left-handed bats (Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber, Bryson Stott, and Brandon Marsh), as their only lefties are Joe Mantiply and rookie Andrew Saalfrank, who have both had some struggles in this series.
If both starters go at least 6 innings, then both bullpens will be well-positioned to finish out the game. At that point, it will be an intense final few innings for both clubs with a potential World Series berth on the line.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Starting Lineups (Projected)
Diamondbacks Starting Lineup
RF Corbin Carroll (L)
2B Ketel Marte (S)
C Gabriel Moreno (R)
1B Christian Walker (R)
LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R)
DH Tommy Pham (R)
CF Alek Thomas (L)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
SS Geraldo Perdomo (S)
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)