MLB: Previewing the 2023 NLCS between the Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks

darren cooper
Darren Cooper
MLB Sports News


  • The 2023 National League Championship Series opens Monday night at 8 p.m. ET with Game 1 at Citizen Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia. The winner of the best-of-seven series advances the World Series.
  • Philadelphia is the fourth seed, and has gone 5-1 in the playoffs, while the sixth-seeded D-Backs are 5-0 in the playoffs.
  • The favored Phillies won the regular season series 4-3 and outscored the Diamondbacks 44-34. They are defending NL champs.

This wasn’t the NLCS everyone predicted as the Phillies and D-Backs play for a World Series slot. Neither the Phillies or D-Backs won their division, and while the Phillies were in this spot last year, this is the first NLCS appearances for Arizona since 2007.

Philadelphia has one of the best homefield advantages in baseball at Citizen Bank Ballpark. Philly fans are loyal and loud. The Phillies haven’t lost at home this post-season.

BetRivers is one of the top Michigan sportsbooks and has deep markets on the NLCS. It has the Phillies favored to win Game 1 and +195 to win the World Series. It also has props on who the NLCS MVP will be. Caesars lists the Phillies -180 to win the NLCS, with the D-Backs at +155.

Let’s get to know the teams and look at the key factors that will decide the 2023 NLCS.

There’s No Place Like Home

Did we mention the noise at Citizen Bank Ballpark? The Phillies know how to play to the home crowd with a stacked line-up that boasts Trea Turner who is currently batting .500 in the playoffs and Nick Castellanos who became the first player in MLB history with back-to-back multi-homer games in the playoffs.

And don’t forget Phillies smasher Bryce Harper, who talks and walks a good game.

The Phillies pitching staff is superb. Zach Wheeler will get the ball to start Game 1. It will be his ninth post-season start.

The Snake Pit

Just win baby, that’s all the D-Backs have done in this post-season. They took two in a row from the Brewers to win the Wild Card Series, then destroyed the Dodgers in three games, scoring six runs in the first inning of Game 1 and never looking back.

You may not know the D-Backs stars yet, but you will. This has been a breakthrough season for Snakes outfielder Corbin Carroll, who has followed up a regular season with 30 doubles by batting .412 in the playoffs. Ketel Marte had 82 RBI in the regular season.

Arizona’s pitching staff is led by Zac Gallen who pitching brilliantly in both playoff series, and the bullpen is led by Paul Sewald, who the D-Backs got in a trade with Seattle. He had 13 saves in 20 games with Arizona in the regular season.

What’s The X Factor in the NLCS?

People who believe baseball isn’t an emotional game or have momentum swings haven’t been paying attention. The Phillies ride the emotional wave of their fans better than any team in baseball.

The biggest key in this series is how the young D-Backs handle the noise and crush of Citizen Bank Ballpark. They can make a statement in Game 1. They don’t even need to win Game 1, but they can’t get overwhelmed by the moment. The Phillies are a pretty big favorite, but the D-Backs have been underrated all season.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Darren Cooper has a fond appreciation for bayous, Mardi Gras beads and the sports betting industry. Darren has worked for multiple print and online publications since 1998, primarily as a sports columnist in the Northeast. He’s covered a Super Bowl (it was a blowout), the World Series (same) and the NBA Draft (man, those guys are tall). For the last few years he’s dug deep into the sports gambling industry as it exploded across America, learning how the legal sausage is made and how while all the sportsbooks look the same, they all have different identities and styles. He’s learned to always bet within his means -- and take the under. When not in front of his computer creating, Darren spends time with his three boys. He runs, reads and is always looking for the next big thing to write about.