Why the Padres Will Bring the NLCS Back to San Diego … And Why They Won't

A look ahead to Sunday's pivotal Game 5

Now or never. Win or go home. Whatever cliche you want to use, the point is the Padres now have zero margin for error. If they don't win Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday in Philadelphia their season is over and the Phillies are in the World Series.

So, let's take a look at three reasons the Padres will win and force a Game 6 on Monday back in San Diego and three reasons they won't.


Yu Darvish is on the mound for the Padres and he's good at baseball. This postseason he has a 2.84 ERA and the only game he's lost was Game 1 when he allowed just two runs in 7.0 innings, something the Padres will take any day. He's also got great career numbers in Philadelphia. In four career starts here he's pitched to a 1.42 ERA and his best outing was in May when he tossed 7.0 shutout innings in a 2-0 win. Darvish deals, Padres prevail.

WHY THE PADRES WILL LOSE: Stuck in the Middle With Stealers Wheeler

Zack Wheeler is on the mound for the Phillies and he's good at baseball. This postseason he has a miniscule 1.40 ERA and beat Darvish in Game 1 when he allowed just one hit in 7.0 shutout innings. He's also got great numbers in Philadelphia, pitching to a 1.85 ERA in 13 starts here in 2022. Wheeler wins, Phillies advance.

WHY THE PADRES WILL WIN: We're Going Streaking!!!!

The Padres have been very good at stringing together 3-game winning streaks, which is exactly what they need to do to get to the Fall Classic. They did it against the Dodgers in the Division Series, beating a 111-win team that has had their number for the better part of five decades. During the regular season they won at least three straight on 15 different occasions, the 2nd-most in MLB (L.A. did it 16 times). Oh, and that Dodgers streak in the NLDS began with Darvish on the mound. San Diego sparks another run when they need it most.

WHY THE PADRES WILL LOSE: The Bank is Closed on Sunday

Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004 (same year at Petco Park). Since then it's become arguably the toughest place in baseball for a road team to win in the postseason. The Phillies are 20-9 in the playoffs at The Bank, including an 8-2 record in LCS games. They've won 20 of their last 27 home playoff games. The only other team to have a 20-7 stretch at home in the postseason is the Yankees, who did it from 1998 through 2003 (and won a pair of World Series during that time). Philly extends its home field advantage.

WHY THE PADRES WILL WIN: It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To A Series

Legendary Philly musical group Boyz 2 Men explained why it's hard to say goodbye to yesterday. It's also hard to end a series, especially when you're up 3-1. In MLB history, teams with that kind of lead are just 44-47 in Game 5. As Nick Martinez said after Saturday night's setback, teams get very dangerous when they're on the cusp of elimination. The Padres have been nothing if not resilient this year so it would certainly not be a surprise if they grind out a win and head home with a chance.


In the playoffs the home run has accounted for 46% of the total runs scored. That's up from 39% in the regular season and right now the Phillies have a guy hitting A LOT of homers. Kyle Schwarber has gone deep in three of the four games in this series. He, along with Rhys Hoskins, has been close to unstoppable, especially in this ballpark. The Padres won't be able to keep Schwarber in the yard and as we saw in Game 4, San Diego is not built to win a slugfest.


I am not ready to give up hope yet. The Padres find a way to scratch out a W. See y'all at Petco Park on Monday.

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