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October 14, 2023

NLCS by the numbers: Phillies out-spent, out-hit and out-pitched Diamondbacks in 2023

Let's compare the Phillies and Diamondbacks ahead of the NLCS.

Phillies MLB
Bryce-Harper-Rob-Thomson-Phillies-DBacks-6.14.23-MLB.jpg Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

How do Rob Thomson, Bryce Harper and the Phillies stack up against the Diamondbacks?

The Phillies and Diamondbacks are the two hottest teams in the National League and a fitting pair of combatants for a trip to the World Series.

While Philly slayed the mighty 104-win Braves, Arizona has won all five of its postseason games, upsetting both the Brewers and the Dodgers in a pair of impressive sweeps.

One of these teams will see their domination end next week, and the two franchises were relatively evenly matched during the regular season. The Phillies lost a three-game series in May before taking three of four from the D-backs in June, outscoring them 44-34 over the seven games (a 4-3 series advantage). The Phillies won 90 games and the No. 4 seed in the postseason, the Diamondbacks just slid into the field with 84 wins. 

As you'll see below, the Phillies are much better in basically every statistical category, and understandably betting favorites in the series with home-field advantage:

At the plate

The Phillies have a very good offense. The Diamondbacks have what can probably be called a very average offense, led by a ton of young players — notably Rookie of the Year frontrunner Corbin Carroll.

Slash line.256/.327/.438
HR220 (3rd)166 (10th)
Runs796 (4th)746 (7th)
SO1,481 (4th most)1,247 (2nd fewest)
BB539 (10th) 540 (9th)
SB141 (3rd)166 (2nd)

The power numbers are lower across the board in Arizona but they do have four hitters with 24 or more homers, led by Norristown's own Christian Walker and his 33 dingers. Philly has no shortage of home run threats, as was seen through their 11 homers against the Braves this past week. One thing to watch will be both teams on the ground manufacturing runs. Philly and Arizona are two of the three best base-stealing teams in the NL.

On the mound

The Phillies get the edge in pitching as well, but that's probably mostly in the bullpen. Here are the numbers from the regular season:

ERA4.02 (3rd)4.47 (7th)
WHIP1.24 (3rd)1.32 (9th)
HR allowed185 (6th fewest)197 (10th fewest)
SO/BB1,454/470 (3.09)1,351/525 (2.57)
Bullpen ERA3.56 (3rd)4.22 (9th)
Starter W-L, ERA53-45, 4.30 ERA46-51, 4.67 ERA

Both of these staffs are top heavy with their best starters carrying a heavy load. Philly of course has Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, while the Diamondbacks are all about Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. Each team has had ample time off and will be able to pit their best starters against one another to start this series. Expect to see Phillies manager Rob Thomson approach this round like he did the Marlins in the Wild Card, instructing his hitters to take as many pitches as they can to get into the Diamondbacks' relatively subpar bullpen.

The front office

The Diamondbacks were expected by many to be contenders next season, not this season. Their excess of homegrown players makes that clear, as a team with more of a win now mindset, like Philly, uses young talent to bring in higher-priced talent. Philly clearly has invested well in free agents. Arizona barely has spent any money on them.

Traded for88
Free agents126
$15m+ players80

As far as payroll goes — the Phillies have spent more than double on their roster this year. Arizona has one player — Ketel Marte — who makes more than $10m ($11.6 million in 2023). In fact, just 11 of their 26 active players will even make more than $800,000. Philly has eight players over $15 million this year and the top payroll in the postseason field.

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