Padres to begin NL Championship series against Philadelphia
The San Diego Padres will play their first National League Championship Series game since Oct. 14, 1998 Tuesday when they face the Philadelphia Phillies at Petco Park.
The series matches two wild-card teams that both upset division champions in the National League Division Series.
The Padres earned their spot in the NLCS by defeating the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers in a National League Division Series, 3-1, one after winning 22 fewer regular-season games. The Phillies advanced by defeating the NL East champion Atlanta Braves in a National League Division Series, 3-1, after winning 14 fewer regular-season games.
Both teams also scored upsets in their wild-card series.
The Padres defeated the New York Mets, who had 101 regular-season victories, 12 more than the Padres, in their best-of-three wild-card series.
The Phillies won 87 games to earn the third of the National League's three wild-card playoff berths, then defeated the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals in a wild-card series and the NL East champion Atlanta Braves in an NLDS.
St. Louis won six more games than the Philadelphia during the regular season.
The Phillies would not have qualified for the postseason without Major League Baseball's expansion of the postseason from 10 teams to 12 beginning this season.
The Padres were 3-4 against Philadelphia in the regular season, including losing three of four at Petco Park.
"We've got our work cut out for us just as much as we did the last couple of series, but we try to concentrate on what we're doing, our style of play, and kind of go from there," Padres manager Bob Melvin said.
Yu Darvish will start for the Padres against fellow right-hander Zack Wheeler.
Darvish is 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts during the 2022 postseason after posting a 16-8 record with a 3.10 ERA in the regular season, winning six consecutive starts before losing his final regular-season start. His 16 victories were tied for fifth in Major League Baseball.
Darvish was 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the Phillies in the regular season and 2-1 with a 2.23 ERA in seven starts lifetime.
"It's just another start for me just because you don't try to get too high or too low," said Wheeler, who is 0-1 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts during the 2022 postseason with Philadelphia winning the game he had a no decision in. He was 12-7 with a 2.82 ERA in the regular season.
"You try to stay right there at that level and just think of it as another game, even though there are bigger things going into it."
Wheeler pitched seven shutout innings in his only 2022 regular-season appearance against the Padres, limiting them to four hits and striking out nine and not walking a batter in the Phillies' 3-0 victory May 18. Wheeler is 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA in seven starts lifetime against the Padres.
Wheeler was on the injured list Aug. 25-Sept. 21 because of right forearm tendinitis and the COVID injured list May 8-12.
The Padres were 18-12 in Darvish's 30 regular-season starts. Philadelphia was 14-12 in Wheeler's 26 regular-season starts.
The Padres will be making their third NLCS appearance. They defeated the Chicago Cubs, 3-2, in 1984 when the championship series was best-of-five, and Atlanta Braves, 4-2, in 1998.
The Phillies have a 5-4 record in nine NLCS appearances. This will be their first NLCS appearance since 2010 when they lost to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants.
The game is set to begin at 5:03 p.m. and will be televised by FS1.