Brandon Pfaadt, D-backs attempt to slow Phillies in Game 3 of NLCS

League: MLB

Posted on: 19 Oct, 2023 at 12:20 AM

Credit: Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Rookie Brandon Pfaadt has a daunting task on his hands Thursday when the Arizona Diamondbacks bid to subdue the homer-happy Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series in Phoenix.

The Phillies have gone deep 15 times in the past four playoff games, the most homers hit by a team in a four-game span in major league postseason history. Philadelphia has homered three times in each of the first two contests of the NLCS to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Kyle Schwarber went deep in the Phillies' 5-3 victory in Game 1 Monday and homered twice the following night in a 10-0 rout in Game 2. Schwarber's multi-homer performance was the fourth by a Philadelphia player this postseason, with Nick Castellanos accomplishing the feat twice and Bryce Harper doing so in Game 3 of the NL Division Series.

All four performances were in front of raucous crowds at Citizens Bank Park.

With the series shifting to Chase Field, the right-handed Pfaadt (0-0, 3.86 ERA this postseason) is hoping for a bit of home cooking to fluster the Phillies.

"I think the ballpark and fans play a big factor. When you look at Philadelphia, it's pretty extreme," Pfaadt said. "In the (NL)DS, it was extreme when we played here, so I think bringing the momentum on our side and bringing our fans is gonna be big."

Pfaadt, who has yet to face the Phillies in his young career, yielded 22 homers in 96 innings during the regular season.

The 25-year-old, however, kept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the park in his last outing, scattering two hits over 4 1/3 scoreless innings of a no-decision on Oct. 11.

The Diamondbacks won that contest to complete a sweep of the Dodgers in the NLDS. Arizona followed that up by batting just .129 and striking out 23 times over the first two games in Philadelphia.

"You know, our mindset is one game, one win -- one well-played game could lead to one win, and we're right back in the series," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's a long journey. We're taking that mindset, and we have to just play our best game (Thursday) and see where that takes us."

Lovullo also said that ace Zac Gallen will not start Game 4 Friday on short rest, regardless of Thursday's result.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson did not reveal his starting pitcher for Game 4. For now, he'll see how left-hander Ranger Suarez (1-0, 1.04) fares Thursday.

Should Suarez pocket a win in Game 3, Philadelphia will be on the cusp of returning to the World Series.

"We want to complete what we didn't complete last year, which is to win the World Series," Suarez said. "Last year, we were not an experienced team in the playoffs. We were a young team, in my opinion. We didn't have much experience in the NLCS, World Series, anything like that."

"We're a more compact team this year, and I think overall we're a better team. Again, we're all ready to finish the job this time."

Suarez, 28, permitted one run on four hits in 8 2/3 innings across two starts in the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves.

He scattered four hits and struck out seven over seven scoreless innings in a no-decision versus the Diamondbacks on June 14. He is 1-3 with a 5.09 ERA in nine career appearances (six starts) against Arizona.

--Field Level Media