Series Recap: Phillies Steal 3 From Padres

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper rounds the bases after a two-run home run during the eighth inning in Game 5 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

It never gets old watching the Phillies beat the San Diego Padres.

A new cross-country rivalry has seemingly begun between the Phillies and Padres, and I am happy to see the Phillies are dominating this matchup.

After a poor performance Friday night, the Phillies bounced back to win the series’ final three games against San Diego.

The recipe for the Phillies in this series was clutch hitting, strong pitching, and a desire to never give up. These factors came together at the right time, as the Phils sent the Padres packing on Sunday.

As Rob Thomson said in Sunday’s postgame interview, this weekend was “tiring,” but the Phils got the job done and won a pivotal matchup to boost them further in the standings – and that is all that matters.

San Diego Padres’ Juan Soto reacts after striking out during the fourth inning in Game 1 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Game 1: Forget Friday Night

As is evident in their performance Friday night, the Phillies got off on the wrong foot coming out of the All-Star break.

Starting Cristopher Sánchez out of the break was a tactical move by Manager Rob Thomson and the Phillies and it was a classic example of losing the battle but winning the war.

Thomson did so in an effort to give Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola more rest to ensure their longevity down the stretch. Sánchez’s outing Friday night was okay, but two early home runs quickly put the Phillies in a 3-0 hole.

Lackluster Offense

Regardless of Sánchez’s quality start, the Phillies’ offense was still in vacation mode on Friday, as they really struggled at the plate early.

Only 1 run was scored in the first 8 innings of this game, with 2 more coming in the 9th for the Phillies. They had a chance late, down 8-3, to actually tie the ballgame, but the Fightins came up short.

There were some bright spots, including Alec Bohm’s RBI double and JT Realmuto’s home run; however, these efforts were in vain as the Phillies would ultimately lose Friday’s game 8-3.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Ranger Suarez pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Tuesday, June 20, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Game 2 & 3: Saturday Sweep

As the great Ernie Banks once said, “Let’s Play Two!”

On Saturday, the Phillies took advantage of the scheduled doubleheader and managed to secure the win in both games.

Game 2

As fans crowded into the ballpark, they were greeted with a Bryce Harper replica NLCS ring as Ranger Suarez took the mound for game one.

This game was the Major League debut of outfielder Johan Rojas, the Phillies #6 ranked prospect out of the Dominican Republic. Rojas is known for his electric speed, adept eye, and fielding prowess – an attribute he clearly debuted on Saturday.

The second batter of the game gave Johan a chance to introduce himself to Philly, as he made an incredible catch against the wall, before throwing out Ha-Seong Kim at first base to secure the double play for the Phils.

On the mound, Ranger Suarez was cruising for the most part in this game. However, a poor defensive decision by shortstop Trea Turner extended the 3rd inning, which led to the one big mistake Ranger made all day…

He left a pitch hanging for Trent Grisham, who took the air out of the stadium when he quickly put the ball in the seats for a 3-0 Padres lead.

Phillies Trea Turner
Philadelphia Phillies’ Trea Turner follows through after hitting a home run against Detroit Tigers pitcher Joey Wentz during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Monday, June 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Late Inning Heroics and a Back and Forth Battle

As was a trend for the Phils in this series, the offense was quiet for the beginning of this game but got things moving in the 6th.

Leftfielder Brandon Marsh would drive in two runs on a double, making it a 3-2 game. DH Kyle Schwarber would go deep in the 7th, tying the game up at 3-3.

In the top of the 8th, Manny Machado gave the Padres the lead back, blasting a double-decker home run to left for his 300th career home run.

The Phillies answered with their own punch in the bottom half of the 8th.

Bryson Stott reached on an error to start the inning. A Brandon Marsh single would move him to third, putting runners at the corners with one out.

Bryce Harper stepped in the box to pinch-hit for Johan Rojas. Harper quickly hopped on the second pitch he saw for an infield single, scoring Stott and giving the Phils the lead.

The Phils did not stop fighting there, however. Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner each worked 3 pitch at-bats into back-to-back base hits to give the Phillies a 6-4 lead.

Closer Craig Kimbrel shut things down in the bottom of the 9th, as the Phillies took game 2 of this series, 6-4.

Game 3: Nice and Easy

The second game of the doubleheader was rather easygoing for the Phillies.

San Diego struck first in the 1st inning, giving them a 1-0 lead. However, the Phils didn’t sweat this one and would quickly turn things around.

Bryce Harper ended his home run drought, tying the game at one with a blast to deep center field.

From there, the Phillies took the lead in the fifth inning and didn’t look back.

A single by Stubbs – followed by Johan Rojas’s first career hit – set the table for Kyle Schwarber.

Schwarbs hopped on a first-pitch changeup and hit his second home run of the day, giving the Phils a 4-2 lead.

The Phillies went on to score 5 more runs in the 6th and 7th, giving them a 9-2 lead.

A few runs would come across for the Padres in the 9th, but the Phils would ultimately win 9-4 in game 3.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Zack Wheeler pitches during the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Game 4: Down to the Final Out

Zack Wheeler took the bump in the final game of this series for the Phillies. While it wasn’t his best stuff, Wheeler pitched a solid game, tossing 7 innings, striking out 7, and allowing 3 earned runs.

Early Deficit

For the fourth straight game, the Padres would strike first.

Ha-Seong Kim hit a solo home run in the 1st, giving the Padres a 1-0 lead.

Xander Bogaerts would join the home run parade, hitting a solo shot in the fourth.

A Trent Grisham double gave the San Diego Padres a 3-0 lead and seemingly put the Phillies on the ropes.

The Daycare Strikes Back

The younger players on the Phillies’ roster have been the biggest reason for the team’s success this season.

Bryson Stott, one of the leaders of that crew, has played incredible this season, leading the team with a 2.8 WAR.

Naturally, Stott sparked the Phillies with a solo home run in the 5th inning, his 8th on the season.

June 46th?

Kyle Schwarber stayed hot for the Phillies again on Sunday.

A solo home run in the 6th made it a 3-2 ballgame, inching the Phillies closer toward the lead.

Schwarber’s homer was his third in the last three games, and each one played a key factor in the Phillies winning each game.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper hits a two-run home run during the eighth inning in Game 5 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
When It Rains, It Pours

Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, and JT Realmuto kept the rally going in the 6th.

A Turner single, Harper double, and Realmuto double gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead. Clutch hitting came through when the Phillies needed it the most.

The buck did not stop there, however.

After the Padres tied the game in the 8th and took the lead in the 10th, the Phillies need their best to come through once again in extra innings.

With their backs against the wall and 2-outs in the 10th, Bryce Harper drove in the tying run off of Josh Hader, one of the best relievers in the game.

Walk It Off

In the bottom of the 11th inning, the Phillies walked it off to win the series against the Padres.

Playing fundamental baseball, Johan Rojas bunted the speedy Edmundo Sosa over to third base, setting up the culmination of a hard fought battle…

With one out in the 12th, Kyle Schwarber knocked Sosa in with a sacrifice fly, giving the Phillies a 7-6 win in an epic result that caused the 37,204 rain-soaked fans in attendance to rejoice.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)