The Philadelphia Phillies became the 12th and final team to clinch a playoff berth on Monday, ending their ticket with a 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros. The Phillies will make the playoffs for the first time since 2011. This season was the last year of the stint when they made the playoffs five times in a row.
In the decider, the Phillies got a pair of home runs off Kyle Schwarber, who now has 46 for the season, and right-hander Aaron Nola had a perfect seventh-inning game. Zack Eflin hit a perfect ninth for his first career save.
It’s fair to say that the Phillies have taken an unusual path by this point. They started the season poorly under former manager Joe Girardi, starting 22-29 before Girardi was sacked. Interim skipper Rob Thomson has since led the Phillies to a 65-44 record. This is proportional to 97 wins in a full season.
The Phillies’ odds seemed to take a hit when star Bryce Harper was sidelined for two months with an injury. However, their supporting lineup proved to be good enough to keep them afloat. Indeed, Philadelphia can give credit to Schwarber, JT Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins, among others, for leading the attack. In terms of pitching, the Phillies have a strong staff of four pitchers, made up of seasoned veterans like Nola and Zach Wheeler, as well as young Ranger Suarez and Bailey Falter.
The Phillies played alongside the Brewers after a tough September that they went 11-14. That rotten month saw two separate five-game losing streaks separated only by a three-game winning streak. In other words, the Phillies lost 10 of 13 games from September 15 to 29.
The rest of the National League playoffs will feature the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. Monday’s Phillies win meant the Brewers were eliminated despite their extra game win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. This ends a series of four games in a row for Milwaukee.