Will this be the last day of baseball action before the World Series? It depends on the result in Philly. If the D-backs win, there will be a Game 7 on Tuesday. If the Phillies win, it'll be their second straight NL pennant and that'll set up the Fall Classic.
We've been on a nice run here in Best Bets in the playoffs and on Sunday we got bookend cashes. Jose Altuve made good on our play on him in the first inning while Adolis García struck out four times before hitting a grand slam in the ninth to emphatically cash our play on him. That's a 2-0 day and it was a lot of fun. We can't ask for much more.
That means I'm 31-12 to this point. Let's keep the momentum going into either Game 7 of the NLCS or the World Series, shall we?
Diamondbacks (+158) at Phillies (-187), 5:07 p.m. ET
The series shifts back to Vibe Central (Citizens Bank Park) and the Phillies are now 55-32 there this season. Nola had an inconsistent season but buckled down in his last two regular-season starts and is now locked in. Kelly was much worse on the road this season than at home and it's a quick turn around for the Phillies' powerful offense. My hunch is this is the end of the road for the D-backs and a party in Citizens Bank Park.
The play: Phillies over 4.5 runs (-105); Bryce Harper over 1.5 H+R+RBI (-105)
As noted, I think it's just going to be a multi-hour celebration tonight for the Phillies offense. Kelly had a 4.07 ERA and 1.38 WHIP on the road this season and the Phillies just saw him (and got him for four runs in 5 2/3 innings). They'll jump on him sooner this time around.
Harper is hitting .313/.476/.688 with two homers, three RBI and seven runs this series so far. He walked, flew out to the left-field wall and struck out against Kelly last time. I'm feeling some good swings from him tonight and remember his flair for the dramatic. It's an elimination game for his opponent and he's at home. Big things on are tap.
BONUS SPRINKLE: Schwarber HR
If you have a home run bonus or something in the same ballpark, look at Kyle Schwarber. He now has five home runs this series and is legitimately one of the most prolific playoff home run hitters ever. In fact, he has the most NLCS homers in history and has the record for postseason homers by a lefty. If you think it's only because he's played a ton of playoff games, he has 20 homers in 63 playoff games while the man they nicknamed "Mr. October," Reggie Jackson, hit 18 homers in 77 playoff games.
Schwarber homered off Kelly twice in Game 2 of this series, too.
It depends on the book, obviously, but I've seen anywhere in the +240 to +320 range.
Finally, a do-or-die game in the 2023 playoffs! Yes, for real, this is the first one. There was no Game 3 in the Wild Card Series and none of the series got to Game 5 in the divisional round. Something to watch here is the possible suspension of Astros setup man Bryan Abreu, which could cause a chain reaction that leads to Justin Verlander pitching in relief. That's fun. Javier has a career 2.08 ERA in the playoffs, but the Rangers started to hit him harder come the fifth inning in Game 3. Scherzer was terrible in Game 3, but now it's his second outing since the injury.
Keep in mind, also, the home/road thing. It's been too real to ignore. Every road team has won this series, the Rangers are now 7-0 on the road in the playoffs and the Astros are 1-4 on the road after a 39-42 road record in the regular season.
The play: Jose Altuve over 1.5 H+R+RBI (-120)
I wanted to grab either Corey Seager or Adolis García here as well, but both props were 2.5 and that felt a bit high. Still, I expect plenty of offense in this one and I'm riding again with the diminutive one. He's now hit this prop four straight games and has gone 8 for 19 with two doubles, two homers, four RBI and seven runs in those four games. He homered against Scherzer in Game 3.