Phillies Playoffs

Pache starts in left field in Phillies' Game 1 lineup vs. Marlins

Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 26: Cristian Pache #19 of the Philadelphia Phillies scores the winning run to defeath the Pittsburgh Pirates during the tenth inning at Citizens Bank Park on September 26, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ith the win, the Philadelphia Phillies clinched an NL Wild Card berth. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Cristian Pache is in left field, batting eighth in the Phillies' lineup for Game 1 of their wild-card series against the Marlins Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Manager Rob Thomson started giving indications over the weekend in New York that Pache could be the starter to match up with Marlins left-hander Jesus Luzardo. The Phillies have veered away from using Brandon Marsh against lefties in the second half, giving him only 15 plate appearances against same-handed pitching in September, four fewer than Pache. Marsh held his own against lefties early in the season and his final at-bat was a three-run homer off of Mets southpaw Anthony Kay, but the Phils like their chances more with the right-handed-hitting corner outfielder.

They could have gone with Weston Wilson, who was called up for the final weekend, made the postseason roster and has reached base in eight of 16 plate appearances as a big-leaguer, but the Phillies are instead optimizing for defense. When referring to Pache over the weekend, Thomson cited run prevention against a team that doesn't allow many as a reason to use him.

The Marlins are starting lefties in the first two games of the Best-of-3 series, Luzardo and Braxton Garrett. Miami won all four games those two started against the Phillies this season. Pache went 16-for-51 with six doubles and two homers vs. lefties, hitting .314/.375/.549. Thomson said Tuesday that a right-handed hitter would likely face Garrett in Game 2, as well.

Beyond Marsh and Pache, the Phillies are also carrying Jake Cave and Wilson on their 26-man roster for the wild-card round. Having the extra position player gives them the flexibility to use three or even four players in that one lineup spot, if they choose. In a close game, they could optimize based on lefty-righty matchups once Miami's starter exits. You might see a few at-bats for Pache, a few for Marsh and potentially someone else. Cave could come in as a defensive replacement for Wilson if Wilson is used late against a lefty. The Marlins have seven left-handers on their roster and they'll want to use them primarily in the Kyle Schwarber-Bryce Harper section of the lineup.

Here is Thomson's starting nine for Game 1:

  1. Kyle Schwarber, DH
  2. Trea Turner, SS
  3. Alec Bohm, 3B
  4. Bryce Harper, 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto, C
  6. Nick Castellanos, RF
  7. Bryson Stott, 2B
  8. Cristian Pache, LF
  9. Johan Rojas, CF

Marlins second baseman Luis Arraez is in the lineup, leading off. The 2023 National League batting champ had just one at-bat after September 23 because of a nagging ankle injury. He hit for the cycle in Philadelphia on April 11 and batted .347 against the Phillies this season, actually lower than his overall .354 batting average.

  1. Luis Arraez, 2B
  2. Jorge Soler, DH
  3. Josh Bell, 1B
  4. Jazz Chisholm Jr., CF
  5. Jake Burger, 3B
  6. Bryan De La Cruz, LF
  7. Jesus Sanchez, RF
  8. Jon Berti, SS
  9. Nick Fortes, C
Contact Us