2023 NLCS Preview: Wild Card Foes Battle for WS Trip

Two of the three National League Wild Card foes are set to play in the NLCS. A trip to the World Series is on the line.

The Phillies advance to the National League Championship Series after defeating the 104-win division rival Atlanta Braves for the second consecutive season.

Philadelphia won the series 3-1 and proved why Citizens Bank Park is the best home field advantage in baseball. The fan base was loud, rowdy, and the players took full advantage of playing in front of the home fans.

The star of the series was outfielder Nick Castellanos — who is having an impressive 2023 postseason.

Castellanos has hit just under .400, but he’s put the team on his back with his power. Castellanos smashed two home runs in both game three and game four. He is the first player in MLB history to have consecutive multi-home run performances in the playoffs.

His two home runs powered Philadelphia to a series-clinching Game 4 victory in Philadelphia.

First baseman Bryce Harper had a rollercoaster series against the Braves.

In a one-run Game 2 in Atlanta, Castellanos launched a ball to deep right-center field. Braves’ outfielder Michael Harris II made an incredible catch at the wall, then began a relay to throw Harper out at first base. Harper took an aggressive lead and rounded second base when the catch was made.

The ultimate relay throw barely beat Harper, and the Braves won the game.

Harper responded emphatically in the next game. He launched a three-run home run, which gave Philadelphia the lead they wouldn’t squander.

The Diamondbacks have continued to be the hottest team during the postseason. Arizona is 5-0 in October, and swept the Los Angeles Dodgers handily.

The main storyline from the series was Arizona’s ability to jump on Los Angeles’ starting pitching.

In Game 1, the Diamondbacks scored six runs before Clayton Kershaw could record two outs.

The Diamondbacks put together six hits and a walk in the inning, which allowed them to cruise to an 11-2 victory.

In the second game, the Diamondbacks scored three first-inning runs against starting pitcher Bobby Miller. Miller surrendered four hits and those three runs, before being taken out in the second inning. Similar to the first game, Arizona’s early runs were enough to secure a second consecutive victory.

The Diamondbacks put together a historic Game 3 performance, just as they’ve done all postseason long. The Snakes were quiet over the first two innings in Phoenix, but the bats came alive in the third inning. Four Diamondbacks — Geraldo Perdomo, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker and Gabriel Moreno — hit solo home runs in the third inning. 

No other team had ever hit four home runs in a single postseason inning.

The Dodgers removed starting pitcher Lance Lynn in the bottom of the third inning, and Arizona’s four runs secured the series sweep against the 100-win Dodgers.

Arizona pitching was phenomenal all series long. Los Angeles only scored six runs in the three-game sweep.

Most remarkably, the Diamondbacks were able to hold off Los Angeles’ dynamic pair of former MVPs. Outfielder Mookie Betts and first baseman Freddie Freeman finished 1-21 during the series. Freeman recorded the pair’s sole hit — an infield single in the second game.

Arizona and Philadelphia will play Game 1 of the NLCS Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies have yet to lose a playoff game at home this postseason, while the Diamondbacks are undefeated through five games.

One of the impressive streaks will end when these Wild Card foes faceoff in the NLCS.

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