A Phillies team that was 21-29 on Memorial Day is now only four wins away from heading to the World Series. Philadelphia beat the defending World Champion Atlanta Braves in four games and will play the San Diego Padres in a best-of-seven series in the National League Championship Series. 

The Phillies seem to be peaking at the right time, as they have gone 5-1 in their six postseason games so far, with four of those games being on the road. They took advantage of a raucous home crowd at Citizens Bank Park over the weekend and exploded for 17 runs in two games to advance to their first NLCS since 2010.

Much like the Phillies, the Padres exorcized their biggest demon in their counterparts to the north, the Los Angeles Dodgers. San Diego sent the 111-win Dodgers packing despite losing their regular season series to L.A. with a record of 5-14. The Padres also defeated the 101-win Mets in the Wild Card round in three games on the road. 


Game 1- Tuesday, 10/18, 8:03 PM ET, FS1

Philadelphia @ San Diego

Game 2- Wednesday, 10/19, 4:35 PM ET, FOX/FS1

Philadelphia @ San Diego

Game 3- Friday, 10/21, 7:37 PM ET, FS1

San Diego @ Philadelphia

Game 4- Saturday, 10/22, 7:45 PM ET, FOX

San Diego @ Philadelphia

Game 5 (if necessary)- Sunday, 10/23, 2:37 PM ET, FS1

San Diego @ Philadelphia

Game 6 (if necessary)- Monday, 10/24, 8:03 PM ET, FS1

Philadelphia @ San Diego

Game 7 (if necessary)- Tuesday, 10/25, 8:03 PM ET, FOX/FS1

Philadelphia @ San Diego

Phillies Offense

Philadelphia’s offense came alive in a big way against Atlanta. The Phillies offense outscored Atlanta 24-13 in four games despite being shutout in Game 2. They battered the Braves’ starting pitching, as Max Fried, Spencer Strider, and Charlie Morton lasted a combined 7.2 while being charged with 12 earned runs and allowing 14 runs overall. 

Bryce Harper is performing like an MVP, as he’s hitting .461 through six postseason games with three home runs and three doubles. But it hasn’t been just Harper. The bottom of the Phillies order has routinely come through with huge at bats in the postseason. The 7-8-9 hitters are hitting a combined .278 with 8 walks and 8 RBIs. Whether it be Bryson Stott grinding out a nine pitch at bat against Spencer Strider before lacing an RBI double or Brandon Marsh clubbing a three-run home run, the bottom third of the order has come through tremendously. 

Phillies Rotation

The pair of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have been as advertised, but Nola in particular is turning into a postseason hero. Nola has made two starts this postseason and has yet to allow an earned run in 12.2 innings. He’s allowed just one unearned run overall. Nola has allowed nine hits and three walks while striking out 12. Nola has been dominant dating back to his last start of the regular season when he was perfect through 6 ⅔ in Houston and helped the team end their drought. 

Ranger Suárez however struggled in his first postseason start in Atlanta. Philadelphia ended up winning 7-6, but Suárez lasted only 3.1 and had five walks. To his credit, Suárez battled and allowed just one run on three hits, but it wasn’t the first time his command completely eluded him this season. The Phillies don’t need him to get as deep into games as Wheeler and Nola, but they do need him to give them more length than 3.1 assuming they keep their bullpen game scheduled after his starts. 

Phillies Bullpen

Speaking of that bullpen game, it went very well the first time it was utilized. Noah Syndergaard started Game 4 in Philadelphia and was in complete control through 3 IP except for a solo home run, which was the only hit he allowed. Andrew Bellatti, Brad Hand, Jose Alvarado, Zach Eflin, and Seranthony Dominguez went the rest of the way allowing two runs on three hits with 12 strikeouts. 

Dominguez has looked to be his past dominant self so far in the postseason. He’s made three appearances and pitched 3.2 scoreless innings with one hit allowed. Dominguez has struck out 8 of the 12 batters he’s faced with no walks. His return to form has allowed manager Rob Thomson to deploy a deadly one-two punch late in games with Alvarado. They will both be continued to be leaned upon against the Padres. 

Padres Offense

Manny Machado will almost certainly finish in the top three in N.L. MVP voting. He may very well win it. Machado finished second only to Aaron Judge in fWAR (7.4) and finished with a .298/.366/.531 batting line with 32 HRs and 102 RBIs. So far in the postseason, Machado is hitting .296 with 2 HRs, 5 RBIs, and 4 walks. In three games against the Phillies this season, Machado went 4-13 (.308) with all four hits being singles. 

Juan Soto came over in a blockbuster move at the trade deadline and despite being in the midst of his worst season in the Majors, he helped the Padres vanquish the Dodgers. Soto may only have collected three hits and a walk in the series, one of those was a game-tying single in the 7th inning of the Padres’ clinching Game 4. Soto cannot be taken likely despite his struggles this season, as he owns a career 1.011 OPS in 67 career games against the Phillies. 

However, the Padres biggest performer this postseason has been Trent Grisham. He hit just .184 this season with a .626 OPS, but he’s 8-21 (.380) this postseason and is tied with Bryce Harper for the most home runs with three. Grisham especially tormented the Mets in the Wild Card Series, going 4-8 with two home runs. 

Another under-the-radar performer has been Austin Nola. Aaron’s big brother is hitting .380 with two doubles and 4 RBIs. Earlier this season, Austin beat Aaron with an RBI single in a 1-0 Padres win over the Phillies on June 25th. 

Padres Rotation

Yu Darvish will start Game 1 for San Diego. Darvish had a strong season but doesn’t exactly have a stellar postseason record. In 9 postseason starts, Darvish is 4-5 with a 4.60 ERA and a WHIP of 1.178. He’s allowed 13 HRs in 45 IP across appearances with four teams. He’s been up and down this postseason, allowing one run in 7 IP in his first start and allowing 3 home runs in 5 IP in his second start. 

Blake Snell will most likely take the ball in Game 2 behind Darvish. The left hander had a rough first half to the season, posting a 5.22 ERA in his first ten starts. However, Snell righted the ship in the second half with a 2.19 ERA over his last 14 starts heading into the postseason. He’s made two starts and thrown a combined 8.2 innings and allowed 3 runs on nine hits. Phillies fans may also remember Snell as the man who threw the pitch that broke Bryce Harper’s thumb. 

The star of the postseason for the Padres’ pitching staff has been Joe Musgrove. Musgrove was brilliant in the clinching game against the Mets, so much so that Buck Showalter made the umpires check his ears for foreign substances. He followed up that dominant start with another gem against the Dodgers, going six innings and allowing two runs in the clinching Game 4. 

The likely fourth starter for San Diego will be Mike Clevinger. Clevinger missed all of 2021 with Tommy John Surgery and returned to start 23 games this season with a 4.33 ERA. His lone postseason start in 2022 was a disaster, as he allowed 5 runs (4 earned) on six hits in 2.2 IP against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS. 

Padres Bullpen

Juan Soto wasn’t the only blockbuster trade A.J. Preller swung at the deadline. San Diego also acquired closer Josh Hader from the Brewers in an attempt to lock down the late innings. Hader had a rough stretch with the Padres after the trade (7.31 ERA) but has so far recaptured his elite form in the postseason. The left hander has faced 15 batters in 4 appearances and has allowed just one hit with 7 K’s and one walk. One of the defining moments of the Phillies season was Alec Bohm and Matt Vierling homering off Hader in Milwaukee to give Philadelphia the season series win over the team they eventually were in a race with. 

Outside of Hader, Robert Suarez has been lights out for the Padres. The 31-year-old rookie had a strong regular season (2.27 ERA) and had yet to allow a run in 6 IP in the postseason with just three hits and a walk. Suarez has a fastball that averages just under 98 MPH and a devastating changeup that has an xBA against of .172. 

Another Phillies connection with this Padres team is reliever Luis Garcia. The former barber turned relief pitcher debuted with the Phillies in 2013 and is having a strong postseason in San Diego. He’s made two appearances and has allowed one hit and a walk with 3 strikeouts. Garcia is the bridge to the strong backend of Suarez and Hader. 


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