PHILADELPHIA — We all expected an exciting National League Championship Series between the Padres and Phillies. Through two games, both teams have delivered.
“You definitely don’t want to go to Philly down 0-2,” said Padres starter Blake Snell, who earned the Game 2 win. “You want to have it tied going there or have the lead going there, because now they have to think a little bit more. They’re more nervous. They’re playing on their heels. That stuff is real. … It’s a really good team we’re playing. I’m excited to see how we match up.”
Now the series shifts to Philadelphia, which will host its first NLCS game since Oct. 21, 2010, against the Giants. And it’s a big one. In all best-of-seven series that were tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner has captured the series 67 of 97 times (69%). The Phillies are 2-0 at home this postseason, while the Padres are 3-2 on the road.
“We went into Atlanta, won the first one, lost the second one,” said Phillies starter Rob Thomson. “Disappointing game. We had a day off and came back home in front of 46,000 raucous people and played really well. I expect to do the same thing.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
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Who are the starting pitchers?
Padres: It’s been quite a postseason for Joe Musgrove (10-7, 2.93 ERA), who has allowed two runs across 13 innings. He was outstanding against the Mets in the NL Wild Card Series clincher, then sneaky good against the Dodgers in the NL Division Series clincher as well — he allowed just two early runs on a Freddie Freeman double that snuck through the infield.
Phillies: Left-hander Ranger Suárez (10-7, 3.65 ERA) will make his second start of the 2022 postseason. He struggled with his command in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves at Truist Park, allowing a career-high five walks in just 3 1/3 innings. Somehow — perhaps miraculously — he made just enough pitches to allow only one run. The Phillies are hoping for a bounceback from Suárez against the Padres. On June 23, he allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings against San Diego.
What are the starting lineups?
Phillies: Philadelphia returned to its right-handed-hitting lineup against Musgrove, meaning center fielder Brandon Marsh and shortstop Bryson Stott replaced Matt Vierling and Edmundo Sosa, respectively.
Here is the Game 3 lineup:
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Padres: After an off-day, San Diego’s bullpen will be rested, with everyone available. Josh Hader will get the ball in save situations — sometimes for more than one inning. Robert Suarez is the team’s primary setup weapon, and he’s been dominant this postseason. From there, the Padres have righties Nick Martinez and former Philly reliever Luis García to cover high-leverage spots, with Tim Hill as the primary lefty setup man.
Phillies: Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson will continue to mix and match his relievers depending on the late-inning matchups. In Game 1 on Tuesday, that meant right-hander Seranthony Domínguez pitching the eighth inning and José Alvarado pitching the ninth. It could line up that way again in Game 3. Or Domínguez and Alvarado could be flipped.
“I’ve always kind of thought that if guys can handle the moment in the ninth inning — seventh, eighth, ninth, especially the ninth — that you should be able to maneuver a guy or guys into that inning based on where you are in the lineup,” Thomson said.
Padres: Profar is battling a nagging toe injury, but he has played through it all postseason. Still, Melvin twice opted to use José Azocar as a late-game replacement for Profar during the NLDS.
Phillies: The Phils are healthy entering Game 3.
Who is hot and who is not?
Padres: Machado and Grisham have hit three homers apiece this postseason, trailing only Harper and the Yankees’ Harrison Bader for the most in this year’s playoffs. Nola, meanwhile, continues to set the table at the bottom of the order. Myers and Kim — while solid defensively — are hitting below the Mendoza Line in the postseason.
Phillies: Harper is the seventh player in franchise history to record a seven-game hitting streak during a single postseason. He is the first since 2009, when Ryan Howard had an eight-game playoff hitting streak. Lenny Dykstra holds the franchise record with a 10-game hitting streak in 1993. Plus, Domínguez and Alvarado continue to throw the ball well in the later innings.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• Musgrove’s season was really a story in three parts. He was excellent early, then struggled in the middle, before piecing it back together in September. Those midseason struggles began with a start against Philadelphia on June 23. He opened the season with 12 straight outings of at least six innings with two or fewer earned runs. But the Phillies tagged him for six runs that day, including homers from J.T. Realmuto and Kyle Schwarber.