The Phillies’ miraculous October run continued on Saturday, as they manhandled the Braves en route to a spot in the National League Championship Series. They hit home runs galore, with Brandon Marsh and Bryce Harper going yard, while J.T. Realmuto added an inside-the-parker of his own. Noah Syndergaard twirled 3.0 solid innings to start things off, and the bullpen locked things down over the last six frames, sending the Phillies on to the doorstep of the World Series.
After Friday’s 9-1 pounding of the Braves, Phillies fans packed Citizens Bank Park and kept a continuous roar going all afternoon. The Phillies struck first in the second inning when Brandon Marsh launched a three-run bomb into the right field bleachers. Orlando Arcia got one back on a solo jack in the top of the third, but J.T. Realmuto answered right back in the bottom of the frame with a heart-pumping inside-the-park home run. Matt Olson’s solo blast in the fourth made it a 4-2 ballgame, and that score held for the next two innings. In the bottom of the sixth the floodgates opened back up when singles from Rhys Hoskins, Realmuto and Harper brought in one run apiece. A Travis d’Arnaud homer gave the Braves their third run, but Bryce Harper got it right back with an opposite field solo shot in the bottom of the eighth.
The pitching was excellent all afternoon, as Andrew Bellatti, Brad Hand, José Alvarado, Zach Eflin and Seranthony Domínguez combined for 6.0 innings of two run ball, striking out 12 Braves. Everything was working for the Phillies in this one, and they ran away with the contest quite early. Unlike in years past, this team held on to their lead, and padded it when given the opportunity.
The Phillies are now set to face the winner of the Dodgers/Padres series, with the Dodgers facing elimination tonight. They’re in great shape no matter who they’re facing, with Zack Wheeler set to start game one of the NLCS and Aaron Nola ready for game two. With this one being a seven-game set, the Phils could have their co-aces pitch four games between them, if needed. The offense looks to be firing on all cylinders, with Harper, Hoskins and Kyle Schwarber breaking out of their slumps. The pitching has seemed virtually untouchable, and their manager provides as steady a hand there is. The Phillies are now one of the last four teams remaining, and have their first chance in over a decade at a World Series title.