Phillies Down Braves, Advance to the NLCS
The Atlanta Braves won 104 games in the regular season. The Phillies won 90. But despite the 14-game deficit in the National League East during the regular season, the Phillies took down the Braves to advance to the National League Championship Series.
Here's how it happened.
The Phillies won three games to Atlanta winning just one game. The lone Atlanta Braves victory came in game two, when Zach Wheeler held the Braves hitless through five. After six, Wheeler allowed just one earned run.
The Braves managed to score two in the seventh and two in the eight to take down the Phillies in stunning fashion 5-4.
But aside from that, the Braves were quiet. All-in-all, the Phillies outscored the Braves 20-8 over four games and secured a series win in Philadelphia on Thursday night.
That means the Phillies will advance to the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the other NLDS matchup.
The Diamondbacks swept the Los Angeles Dodgers, who struggled offensively in their first playoff series.
The Diamondbacks are led by pitchers Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. Their offense is led by the likes of Christian Walker, Corbin Carroll, and Ketel Marte.
The Phillies, of course, have starters Zach Wheeler and Aaron Nola, along with a long cast of offensive players, led by Bryce Harper. On paper, the series might favor the Phillies, but of course the games must be played.
The schedule for the National League Championship Series is as follows:
- Monday, October 16, Philadelphia 8:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, October 17, Philadelphia, 8:00 p.m.
- Thursday, October 19, Phoenix, 5:00 p.m.
- Friday, October 20, Phoenix,8:00 p.m.
- Saturday, October 21, Phoenix, 8:00 p.m.
- Monday, October 23, Philadelphia, (if necessary) 5:00 p.m.
- Tuesday, October 24, Philadelphia, (if necessary) 8:00 p.m.
Phillies should be able to pitch starters Wheeler and Aaron Nola each two games in the NLCS. Wheeler should be ready for game one, presumably to face Gallen, and Nola ready for game two to face Kelly.
The current Diamondbacks depth chart has just one more starter available to pitch: right-hander Brandon Pfaadt. The Diamondbacks might have a tougher time in a seven-game series.
Meanwhile, the Phillies have used just Wheeler, Nola, and Ranger Suárez to navigate the first two rounds on the playoffs. The Phillies will be forced to use a fourth, either Taijuan Walker, Cristopher Sanchez, or Michael Lorenzen.
The Phillies have days to make such a decision. The series will not begin until Monday. Until then, the Phillies can celebrate, relax, and prepare.