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Phillies face D-backs for first time since 2023 NLCS loss

The Phillies will look to exact a small measure of revenge against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday when the teams open a three-game series in Philadelphia.

Manager Rob Thomson’s club had the Diamondbacks pressed up against the ropes in the National League Championship Series last October before Arizona recorded a knockout following a pair of road wins in Games 6 and 7.

Bryce Harper had two homers, three RBIs and seven runs in the first five games of that series before going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts in the final two contests.

Harper belted a pair of solo homers in Philadelphia’s 5-2 setback to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon. The Phillies, however, mustered just six hits and struck out 10 times en route to losing the finale of their three-game series before getting Thursday off.

“I think it’s well deserved for everybody,” Thomson said of the off day. “It’s good to get back on the winning side of a series. Difficult loss (on Wednesday), but we still won the series and hopefully that’s a trend.”

Nick Castellanos went 7-for-13 with four doubles in the series against the Padres, highlighted by a walk-off double in a 4-3 win on Tuesday night.

“The more inconsistent variables you can take out of hitting, the simpler hitting gets — and the easier it becomes,” Castellanos said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Castellanos, however, went 0-for-14 with six strikeouts in the previous series versus the Baltimore Orioles and 0-for-20 with 10 strikeouts in the last six games of the NLCS against Arizona.

Philadelphia right-hander Taijuan Walker (3-2, 5.33 ERA) will look to snap a six-start winless skid when he takes the mound on Friday.

Walker, 31, fell to 0-2 in that stretch after allowing three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 6-2 setback to the Orioles in Baltimore on Saturday.

Walker has yet to face the Diamondbacks in his career.

Arizona left-hander Jordan Montgomery (5-4, 6.00) will oppose Walker.

Montgomery, 31, notched his second straight win after allowing one unearned run on four hits in five innings of a 12-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. He didn’t fare too well in his lone career regular-season encounter versus the Phillies, however, permitting five runs on six hits in four innings to take the loss in a 2020 game.

Arizona recorded its seventh win in 10 outings with a 5-2 road victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday afternoon.

Christian Walker homered for the fifth time in eight games and team-leading 17th time of the season for the Diamondbacks, who moved within a game of .500 with the win.

“We’re closing in on .500, which isn’t the final destination,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I’m proud of this team. We’ve taken on a lot this year. I’m saying it a lot and I’m sure everybody is tired of hearing me say it, but we’re missing three-fifths of our starting rotation. What we’ve done is pretty impressive, and we’re just getting better every single day.”

The Phillies will honor left-hander Cole Hamels prior to the game.

Hamels played for Philadelphia from 2006-15, highlighted by being named as the 2008 World Series MVP. He will retire as a member of the team prior to Friday’s game.

–Field Level Media

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