The Philadelphia Phillies came out firing in their Wild Card series.
Despite stumbling into the playoffs, the team walked away with a 2-0 sweep.
Own it. Embrace it. Believe it.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 7, 2022
They outplayed the St. Louis Cardinals in every way, using stellar pitching and timely hitting.
The first game stood out especially, as the Phillies came back on Cardinals’ closer Ryan Helsley, one of the best closing pitchers in all of baseball this season.
Here is a look into why exactly they were able to come away with the series win, and why that may be able to help them make a deep playoff run.
3. Phillies Aces
The Phillies have a two headed monster at the top of their starting rotation.
In game one, Wheeler took the ball and casually tossed six scoreless innings.
Zack Wheeler, 97mph ⛽️ pic.twitter.com/aentOgnUoR
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 7, 2022
While the bullpen then gave up a number of runs, Wheeler’s dominance did not go unnoticed.
Nola was arguably the bigger reason for their victory in game 2.
He added six and 2/3 scoreless innings himself on the mound, letting the two Phillies’ runs hold for the entire game.
Neither of their starters gave up a run, and gave the Phillies an opportunity to keep the game close early on.
This took some of the pressure off their offense, allowing them to naturally get on the board in a big way.
2. Timely Hitting
In postseason baseball, it isn’t always about who necessarily has the best lineup.
It is more about who can score runs at the right time.
In game one, the Phillies struggled offensively early on in the game.
However, they broke out of the slump in a big way, thanks in large part to their timely hitting.
Facing the Cardinals lights out closer Helsley, the Phillies slowly strung together base runners using a small-ball mindset.
Jean Segura punches an RBI single through to score two runs and give the Phillies the lead!
Ryan Helsley couldn’t keep the lead and was replaced after hitting Alec Bohm pic.twitter.com/UVAfPCpucS
— Beerly Baseball (@BeerlyBaseball) October 7, 2022
After a single, a pair of walks, and a hit batter, the Phillies had scored a run and still had the bases loaded with no outs.
This brought up Jean Segura, who poked a two-run single to give the Phillies the lead.
Rather than getting big in this situation, the Phillies took what was given to them and didn’t try to do too much.
This is a characteristic that, if they continue it throughout the postseason, could pay off in a big way.
1. A Chip On Their Shoulder
The Phillies scuffled into the postseason, sneaking in after holding off the Milwaukee Brewers for just long enough.
However, they have a deep and talented roster that shouldn’t go overlooked.
This has created an underdog feeling, which likely resonates in their locker room.
All year they have been overshadowed by the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, as the two teams have been locked in a battle for the division title.
But still, the Phillies remain in the playoffs with a chance to now make a run.
BRYCE HARPER HITS A DEEP HR TO OPEN IT UP 💪 pic.twitter.com/2MCPSp6XEh
— ESPN (@espn) October 9, 2022
For their fan base, it has been 11 years since their last playoff appearance.
They are dedicated, as all Philadelphia fans are, and will stay behind the team for as long as their playing October baseball.
This can be a powerful advantage for a team that is really playing with no expectations now.
It is something that helped carry them to a Wild Card Series win, and may help spark a magical postseason run.