The Phillies shocked the world this past weekend by taking down the reigning, defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves in just 4 games. The Phillies won both of their home games in the series and as a result are moving on to the NLCS for the first time since 2010.
The Phillies are just eight wins away from winning a World Series
Home-field advantage could not have been any bigger this past weekend. The stands were packed, the noise was deafening, and the atmosphere was biblical. The Braves were outscored 17-4 across the two contests as the Phillies danced their way to the next round of the playoffs, and another rendition of ‘Dancing on my Own’.
For the first time in franchise history, the Phillies are 5-1 to start the postseason. Saying this sentence 11 years after the last playoff appearance by this team feels surreal. Think back to where you were this time in 2011. I was in school, with a terrible haircut, listening to Slipknot. Not too much has changed in that department, but it’s all changed for the Phils.
The man at the center of it all is Bryce Harper, who has proved to be worth the price to pay and then some. Last year’s NL MVP still found a way to stun crowds despite two devastating injuries. He punched in a pair of hits and 3 runs in the two home games against the Braves and was supported by a cast of batters who all rose to the task of sending this team back to where it belongs – on the top of the world.
Team of destiny?
You could argue that once Rhys Hoskins spiked his bat after hitting an explosive home run, ending his window of woes in the most remarkable fashion, that series against Altanta was over. This Phillies team may have limped into the playoffs, but they wasted no time in sprinting out of the gates and ensuring that everybody takes notice.
Led by now full-time manager, Rob Thomson, the Phils looked fearless in front of the roaring home fans. Thomson became the first Canadian-born manager to lead a team to the postseason, earning the keys to the team in the process with a two-year deal. It’s safe to say that the players have rallied around him after he took over from the flailing Joe Girardi. It’s almost scary to think that the Phils were 22-29 when he first took over. The franchise is now on a totally different trajectory, with the ceiling being as high as fans could possibly imagine.
It’s been a bumpy road, but this team now has all the parts needed to get past the San Diego Padres, their next challenge. They won 89 games this past season, only 2 more than the Fightin’s, and needless to say, confidence will be at an all-time high after dethroning the Champs.
Why not this team? Why not this season?
The Padres will absolutely pose a tough challenge, but one the Phillies are more than prepared to handle. They won 4 games of the 7 played this season and if they can repeat that feat, they’ll be moving on to the World Series. Could the Phils really repeat the magic they once conjured back in 2008?
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins.
Those are the names you still hear echoing around the City of Brotherly Love today.
Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm, J.T Realmuto.
Those are the names who are just eight wins away from writing their legend.
AP Photo/Jeff Roberson