MLB picks Saturday 10/21: YRFI & NRFI best bets today: Expect a pitchers' duel in pivotal Game 5
The Arizona Diamondbacks erased a 5-2 deficit last night heading into the bottom of the 7th inning, and we’re all even at 2-2 ahead of Game 5 tonight. We have a good one in store with a rematch of Game 1 as Zack Wheeler and Zac Gallen take the ball for their respective clubs. Game 1 saw the Phillies jump out to an early 5-0 lead, including 2 runs in the bottom half of the first inning with solo home runs from Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper. However, I’m projecting a scoreless first inning tonight with the series in Arizona. So let’s get right into it as I preview the first inning of Game 5 at Chase Field.
Philadelphia Phillies vs Arizona Diamondbacks: NRFI (-136)
Zac Gallen had his fair share of struggles in front of a raucous Philadelphia crowd in Game 1, but he won’t have to worry about that tonight in front of the Diamondback faithful. I expect Gallen to be much more relaxed at home, and his splits show a major edge when pitching at Chase Field. Through 16 regular-season home starts, Gallen owns a 2.47 ERA alongside a 12-3 record. Compare that to his 18 road starts, in which Gallen registered a 4.42 ERA and has a 4.96 ERA through 3 postseason starts – all of which have come on the road. Look for Gallen to feed off the crowd tonight as he pitches his first postseason game at home.
Zack Wheeler is undoubtedly the best starting pitcher remaining this postseason and he has somehow been even better in 2023 than he was during his remarkable 2022 postseason run. Through 3 postseason starts, Wheeler has posted a 2.37 ERA 1 season after posting a 2.78 postseason ERA. Unlike Gallen, it appears Wheeler prefers to pitch on the road, at least according to his home/away splits as Wheeler is posting a 3.16 ERA on the road and a 4.13 ERA at home. Wheeler has been downright dominant in the postseason with 7 quality starts in 9 attempts over the past 2 seasons. In addition to that, Wheeler has tossed a scoreless first inning in 8 of his last 9 outings. I’m backing a scoreless first inning in Game 5.
Check out our expert’s best MLB prop plays for Game 5