A pair of underdog clubs will meet at Petco Park as the Phillies and Padres open the NL Championship Series on Tuesday night. Neither club reached 90 wins in the regular season, marking the first time in MLB history that two clubs below that threshold have met in a League Championship Series. 

Several interesting storylines exist as the series opens, including the Nola brothers (Aaron and Austin), former teammates (Bryce Harper and Juan Soto) battling for a chance to reach the World Series, and manager Rob Thomson's storied turnaround of a club that flirted with disaster. 

"As I've said many times, we came out of Spring Training, and we knew we had a real good ballclub," Thomson said on Monday. "So being here doesn't really surprise me based on the club we thought we had coming out of Spring Training, but we got off to a slow start and it kind of snowballed a little bit. 

"I think the club lost confidence a little bit, and then in May we really had a tough schedule, and then in June we started turning it on and got hot, stayed hot, confidence grew back into the team, and they've rolled right through it. It's been pretty good. 

"Am I surprised that we're here? No. But based on the start of the season, maybe a little bit, yeah."

Starting Pitchers 
Zack Wheeler, who has been outstanding in two postseason starts, will get the ball for Philadelphia in the series opener. He would have likely started Game 5 of the NLDS if the Phils didn't take care of business on Saturday. He'll be pitching on Tuesday with an extra day of rest and has a 0.65 WHIP. 

"It’s just another start,” Wheeler said Monday at Petco Park. “Obviously, it's a bigger stage. It's a lot riding on it. But we want to get that first win of the series. It's just another start for me just because you don't try to get too high or too low. You try to stay right there at that level and just think of it as another game, even though there are bigger things going into it, I guess you could say, bigger outcomes.” 

The Padres counter with veteran Yu Darvish. The 36-year-old righty was outstanding this year for San Diego, pitching to a 3.10 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP over 30 starts. He's 2-0 this postseason with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. 

Harper is Hot
In six postseason games so far this year, Bryce Harper is slashing .435/.480/.957 with a 1.437 OPS in 26 plate appearances.

Starting Lineup
Schwarber 7 
Hoskins 3 
Realmuto 2 
Harper DH 
Castellanos 9 
Bohm 5 
Stott 6 
Segura 4 
Marsh 8 
Wheeler RHP
13 stars

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