After obliterating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, the Arizona Diamondbacks find themselves as arguably the most unlikely team to make it the league championship series this year. Both the Rangers and Phillies were wild card teams, but both were highly regarded going into the postseason. The Astros, the only division winner to make it through, seemingly have a seat reserved in the ALCS each season and it isn't all that shocking for them to get this far.
Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks backed into a postseason spot mostly because the rest of the wild card contenders in the National League (looking at you, Cubs) fell on their faces down the stretch. However, Arizona has gone on to convincingly take down both the Brewers and Dodgers to clinch their spot in the NLCS
Here is a look at everything you need to know going into the NLCS between the Diamondbacks and Phillies this year.
What does NLCS Stand For?
This is an easy one as NLCS stands for National League Championship Series. Before 1969, the winners of each league were just determined by win-loss record without playoff series to determine the top dog in the AL and NL. However, starting in 1969 after each league got divided up into East and West divisions, the respective league championship series were born with the playoffs expanding further and further over time into the format it is today.
How many games are in the NLCS?
The NLCS is a best of seven series, so whichever team gets to four wins first is the winner. This wasn't always the case with the league championship series though. They originally were best of five series (so the first to three wins took the series) upon their creation, but that all changed in 1985 when the LCS went to a best of seven format and have stayed that way ever since.
NLCS Tickets: How much does it cost to get in?
So this obviously tricky because various third party ticket resellers are going to have different markets, but the quick and dirty answer here is that if someone is wanting to go to Game One of the NLCS in Philly, you are going to at least fork over $400 for standing room only tickets right now. If you are wanting to be sit closer to the action, tickets are already close to $900 each.
Once the series comes back to Arizona for Game Three, things are significantly cheaper at the moment. 300 level seats are sitting at just over $100 as of right now with a ton of tickets available. 200 level seats seem to be starting at around $300 with a couple cheaper options here and there with the closest seats having some even cheaper options than that. If you are wanting to sit in those 100 level seats in Arizona, you can get them for $250ish, although the better seats will run $300+.
On the surface, this matchup does not favor the Diamondbacks. While the Phillies didn't win their division because the Braves were on a warpath in the regular season, they were still a top 12 offense in all of baseball this season (just ahead of the Diamondbacks at 13) and they had the best pitching staff overall in MLB in 2023 by fWAR at 24.4. Having to face Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola twice in a playoff series is going to be a daunting challenge to have to overcome especially with Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, and Trea Turner helping Philly's cause.
If there is some cause for optimism, it is that Arizona has played the Phillies tough in 2023 with Philadelphia just barely winning the season series 4-3. The Diamondbacks took a three game series in May in Philly, but then the Phillies took three out of four in Arizona in June. Five of the seven games the two teams played in 2023 were one run games and both teams are playing really well right now, so this series sure looks like it could go the full seven games on paper.