Braves square off against Phillies in NLDS

Published 2:24 pm Monday, October 10, 2022

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The defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves are set to begin their first series of the postseason as they welcome their fellow NL East foe Philadelphia Phillies to Truist Park in Atlanta. Baseball fans are in for an entertaining series between two teams who are really familiar with each other. 

For the Philadelphia Phillies, it has been a whirlwind of a season, but an unforgettable one to say the least. After a slow start led to the firing of manager Joe Girardi, the Phillies got things going with interim manager Rob Thompson and turned the season around. 

Even with losing 2021 MVP Bryce Harper to injury in late June, the Phillies still rallied and were able to string together wins thanks to players like Kyle Schwarber leading the NL in home runs, young third baseman Alec Bohm taking the next step in his development, and the pitching staff of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler and Ranger Suarez shutting down opposing hitters. 

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The last three weeks the Phillies squad has really stepped up and gained momentum, coming through clutch in must-win games even before the Postseason started. In the last series of the regular season, the Phillies marched into Houston needing a win against an Astros team who holds the best record in all of baseball. 

Kyle Schwarber led the game off with a home run on the first pitch of the game and the Phillies never looked back. Aaron Nola pitched an absolute gem, throwing seven scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and only allowing one hit. The Phillies came out of Houston with a 3-0 win, clinching their first playoff berth in 11 seasons. 

Philadelphia wasn’t done as they traveled to St. Louis to take on a Cardinals team who was heavily favored over the Phillies in a best of three Wild Card Series. The pitching staff of the Phillies and clutch hitting was on display as they swept the Cardinals in two games. 

In game one against the Cardinals, Zack Wheeler threw a masterful six innings, allowing two hits, no runs with four strikeouts. Phillies shortstop Jean Segura propelled the Phillies to a game one victory as a three-run single in the ninth inning gave the Phillies the lead for good. 

Game two was all about the performance of Aaron Nola. In seven innings, Nola allowed zero runs with six strikeouts. Nola was seemingly un-hittable as his fastball and curveball were on full display against a lineup with two MVP candidates in Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. 

A Bryce Harper moonshot gave the Phillies a lead they would not squander as they walked out of St. Louis with their first playoff win since I was in sixth grade. 

As we get ready to travel to Atlanta, the Phillies certainly have their work cut out for them. The Braves are the defending World Series champions for a reason.They can beat teams in many different ways. 

Let’s start with their lineup. The Braves offense is one of the deadliest in baseball and it’s not just because they have a superstar in Ronald Acuna Jr. The Braves have an all around lineup of guys like Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Dansby Swanson, Michael Harris and Vaughn Grissom who are very smart, disciplined and fundamental hitters. 

The Braves pitching staff is just as good as anyone in the league as their staff consists of Kyle Wright, Max Fried, Spencer Strider and Charlie Morton. These pitchers are experienced and have pitched in big-time playoff games before so they are not scared of the moment. 

The Phillies travel to Truist Park in Atlanta for games one and two and then will go to Philadelphia for games three and four and then back in Atlanta for game five. 

Being in the same division, these two teams have played each other the most out of anybody this season and know each other very well.

The beauty of playoff baseball is that everything that happened in the regular season is out of the window. The Phillies are the hottest team in baseball right now and are riding their momentum into Atlanta. Although the Braves should win the series, the Phillies will not go down easily. 

As a Phillies fan, these last three weeks have been the most unexpected and exciting three weeks in 11 years. With Aaron Nola on the mound for game three in Philadelphia for their first home playoff game in 11 years, Citizens Bank Park should be electric. 

If the Phillies pitching continues to dominate and their bats are timely and efficient, do not be surprised if the Phillies find a way to win this series.