Left for dead after two dispiriting losses in Philadelphia, the Arizona Diamondbacks picked themselves up off the deck and roared back into this NLCS in Game 3 on Thursday, with Ketel Marte’s walk-off single in the ninth lifting the Snakes to a 2-1 win over the Phillies. Now this series is back up for grabs again — can Arizona win again and guarantee us a flight back to Philly, or will the Phils slam the door? Philly will turn to rookie lefty Cristopher Sanchez (3-5, 3.44 ERA) for his first start of the postseason, while the pitching-starved D-backs will use reliever Joe Mantiply (2-2, 4.62) as an opener in what figures to be a full bullpen game. First pitch from Chase Field is set for 8:07 p.m. ET.
The Phillies enter as -135 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Arizona at +114. The run total is set at 9.5.
Phillies vs. Diamondbacks NLCS Game 4 picks: Thursday, Oct. 20
Out: 1B Rhys Hoskins (knee)
Out: RP Scott McGough (shoulder)
Cristopher Sanchez vs. Joe Mantiply
When the season began, it was another Phillies pitching prospect — Andrew Painter — who figured to become a fixture in the back end of the team’s rotation in 2023. But early injuries to both Painter and Ranger Suarez left Philly short a starter or two. Into that void stepped Sanchez, and he took his opportunity and ran. The 26-year-old was a revelation all year, allowing more than three earned runs exactly twice over 18 starts. In a lot of ways, Sanchez looked like a younger Ranger Suarez: a lefty sinkerballer with a sky-high ground-ball rate and two solid secondaries. Suarez just pitched 5.1 scoreless innings in Game 3, and Philly can only hope to get a similar performance from its rookie in Game 4. Sanchez hasn’t pitched at all in October, though, and hasn’t made a full start since back on September 24.
For the first time in these playoffs, Arizona will have to make due without one of Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt available to start. Given the state of the rest of their rotation right now, that could be a bit of a problem. Lovullo has announced that the lefty Mantiply — last seen getting lit up for three runs while recording just one out in Game 2 in Philly — will start, but after that, who knows. All hands figure to be on deck, with regular-season starter Ryne Nelson (8-8, 5.31 ERA) an option if Arizona needs a bulk man.
I understand that Arizona’s pitching situation in this game looks bleak, but I’m backing the under here anyway at this (relatively) inflated number. We just saw a mere three runs scored in Game 3, after all, and at this point it’s undeniable that Philly’s offense is just less explosive away from Citizens Bank Park. That’s not to say that the Phillies will be held totally in check tonight, but 10 runs is a fairly high bar, and outside of their one NLDS explosion against Clayton Kershaw, the D-backs are averaging fewer than four runs per game in this postseason. I don’t think Arizona will pull their share of the weight here, and I don’t trust Philly to pick up that slack.
Pick: Under 9.5
I think we’re in for another relatively low-scoring affair tonight, but I’m still backing the Phillies here. I need much more juice than +114 to back Arizona’s bullpen over a full nine innings, especially if Sanchez pitches anything like the way he did during the regular season. I think Thursday served as a wakeup call for Philly, and they respond in kind.
Pick: Phillies -135