SAN DIEGO — The Padres and Phillies both entered the National League Championship Series coming off emotional wins against division rivals in the previous round. But it was Philadelphia that was able to build on that momentum, delivering the first punch with a 2-0 win over San Diego in Game 1 at Petco Park on Tuesday night.
All-Star right-hander Zack Wheeler stole the show, striking out eight and allowing one hit over seven scoreless innings in the win. Co-ace Aaron Nola is primed to take the ball for the Phillies in Game 2 on Wednesday.
“We have a lot of baseball to be played, and we have a really good team standing in the way of [reaching the World Series],” said Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos. “We just have to take care of tomorrow.”
The Padres will need more from superstars Manny Machado and Juan Soto, who went a combined 0-for-7 in the Game 1 loss, in order to make a push. With three games in Philadelphia looming, the Padres will have to treat Game 2 as something close to a must-win game.
“We just got to go out there and come out and get ready to play tomorrow,” Machado said. “We’ll be ready. We’re going to go out there and compete, just go out there and keep grinding.”
When is the game and how can I watch it
Game 2 at Petco Park is scheduled for Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 PT on FOX and FS1. All games are available in the U.S. on MLB.TV (authentication to a participating Pay TV provider is required). Live games are also available in select countries outside the U.S. For full details click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Phillies: Nola has not allowed an earned run this postseason. He pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Cardinals in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series, then he allowed one unearned run in six innings against the Braves in Game 3 of the NL Division Series. Nola has not allowed an earned run in his past three starts, going back to his final regular-season start on Oct. 3 in Houston, where he helped the Phils clinch the third NL Wild Card spot. Nola is 1-2 with a 3.27 ERA in five career starts at Petco Park.
Padres: Blake Snell’s first two postseason starts looked an awful lot like his season. He struggled in the Padres’ loss to the Mets, then he was sharp in a win over the Dodgers. During the regular season, Snell struggled immensely in the first half, before turning in a dominant second half in which he posted a 2.19 ERA.
What are the starting lineups?
Phillies: Facing a lefty starter in Snell, the Phils tweaked their lineup by adding Matt Vierling in center field over Brandon Marsh and Edmundo Sosa at shortstop over Bryson Stott. Vierling and Sosa started Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series against José Quintana and Game 1 of the NLDS against Max Fried.
Padres: Brandon Drury makes his return to the starting lineup, with Wil Myers giving way. Jake Cronenworth, who homered against Nola, moves up to the No. 4 spot.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Phillies: Everybody in the Phils’ bullpen is fresh and ready to throw. Manager Rob Thomson mixes and matches his high-leverage relievers in the late innings. He has no official closer. But, ideally, it will be right-hander Seranthony Domínguez in the ninth inning and some combination of righty Zach Eflin and left-hander José Alvarado right before him. Righty David Robertson rejoined the bullpen for the NLCS. But because Robertson has not pitched since Oct. 7, Thomson said he prefers to ease him into low-leverage situations initially.
Padres: Yu Darvish didn’t win Game 1, but he did the Padres a favor with seven innings of two-run ball. San Diego’s relief corps is fresh — and, honestly, fairly straightforward. 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 Martínez and former Phillies reliever Luis García to cover high-leverage spots, with Tim Hill as the primary lefty setup man.
Phillies: Philadelphia is 100 percent healthy. The Phils added Robertson to the NLCS roster. He missed the NLDS after straining his right calf in the NL Wild Card Series.
Padres: Profar is battling a nagging toe injury, but he’s played through it all postseason. Still, Melvin twice opted to use José Azocar as a late-game replacement for Profar during the NLDS.
Who is hot and who is not?
Phillies: Harper entered Game 1 batting .451 (10-for-23) with three home runs and six RBIs in the postseason. Then he hit a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning. He became the second Phillies player to homer in three consecutive playoff games, joining Gary Matthews in 1983. … Schwarber crushed a record-breaking 488-foot homer into the second deck in right field in the sixth.
Padres: The Padres were one-hit by Wheeler and a couple of Phillies relievers, so everyone but Myers is riding an 0-fer. But Grisham has been one of the postseason’s hottest hitters, trailing only Harper with three playoff homers. Nola, too, has been excellent at the bottom of San Diego’s order. Meanwhile, the Padres can’t seem to get much from their DH platoon of Bell and Brandon Drury, who have gone a combined 4-for-38 (.105) this postseason.
Anything else fans might want to know?
• It’s officially Nola Bowl III — and the most consequential matchup yet. Austin, the Padres’ catcher, and Aaron, the Phillies’ right-hander, have faced each other in two big league games but never in the playoffs. They’re the sixth pair of brothers to face each other in the playoffs, and they’ll become the first pair of brothers to square off in a batter-pitcher matchup.
• It was Snell on the mound when Harper was hit by a pitch that fractured his left thumb in early June. Harper would miss the next two months. Snell and Harper are friends, and Snell said he was a bit shaken up by the incident, proceeding to allow four runs over the next inning and change.
• Snell will become the first pitcher to start games in an ALCS and NLCS at the same ballpark. He made two starts at Petco Park for the Rays when the 2020 ALCS took place in San Diego due to the coronavirus pandemic.