The Philadelphia Phillies have done it on the back of their superstar, Bryce Harper. Despite a season that began in disappointment and the firing of their manager (Joe Girardi), the team has made it all the way to World Series after a Game 5 win over the San Diego Padres.
In a matchup between the top pitchers of both teams, the Padres sent Yu Darvish to the mound to face Zack Wheeler, who represented Philadelphia. It looked as though it would be a pitcher’s duel through the first two innings, as both pitchers looked sharp early their first trip through the lineup despite the light rain.
As the Phillies lineup came due for a second time, though, they began to apply pressure to Darvish. First, due to a walk drawn by Kyle Schwarber, soon followed by a 424-foot home run by Rhys Hoskins — his fourth of the series.
The stadium replied with thunderous applause and cheers that could be heard throughout the Delaware Valley.
San Diego would soon reply, however, with a solo shot by Juan Soto, adding to the anxiety of the afternoon. The score would then hold for the next three innings into the seventh, and as the tension increased, so did the rainfall.
With Seranthony Domínguez taking the mound, the Phillies would fight through the rain, just hoping to make it through the inning. Nature, however, would go undefeated as Domínguez would find trouble securing a proper grip on the ball, allowing a single, then a wild pitch, a double, and two more wild pitches, which brought in a total of two runs giving the Padres the lead.
As close as Philadelphia seemed to reaching their first World Series since 2008, the chance had seemingly passed them by due to the conditions. That is until Bryce Harper came to the plate.
The bottom of the 8th opened with a single to left, allowing the two-time MVP to approach the plate as the go-ahead run.
Harper would find himself down in the count early but continued to fight off pitches until, on the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Harper sent a ball flying 382 feet into left field. This game was not over, however, as there was still one more inning to be played.
David Robertson took the mound early on and, after striking out the pitch-hitting Will Myers, he proceeded to walk the next two batters. Manager Rob Thompson would then remove Robertson and insert starter Ranger Suárez to put an end to the game.
A sacrifice bunt would advance the runners but put two outs on the boards. So came the Padres nine-hole hitter, brother of Aaron Nola, Austin Nola, who would prop out on the first pitch and seal the victory for the Philadelphia Phillies.
A beautiful celebration would ensue on the field. An important moment for so many close to the team.
For the fans, of course, the opportunity to witness their team win the pennant in their home of Philadelphia is once in a lifetime for many in attendance. For the team owner and lifelong fan, John Middleton, to see his Phils come this far. For players like Rhys Hoskins, who have spent their whole careers here, for so long in a losing environment, to reach the World Series in their first taste of playoff action.
Perhaps it is special for none more so than Philadelphia Phillies’ Superstar Bryce Harper, who was named the NCLS MVP for his heroic efforts. For so long, Harper has dealt with the narrative that he is not a winning player. He had not won a postseason series in his entire career up to this point.
As of today, he has now won three, all this season, and with one swing, sent the Philadelphia Phillies to the World Series.
Now there are just four more wins to go.