The final two teams in the National League postseason bracket are the two most improbable, the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres. The last two teams in —the Phillies and Padres were the two National League Wild Card representatives— are the last two teams standing.
This marks the first time in modern National League Championship Series history that no division winner and two sub 90-win teams will play for the pennant.
Path to the Pennant
The Phillies swept the NL Central division champion St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Wild Card Series. The Fightin’s followed with a dominate 3-1 division series win over the defending World Champion Atlanta Braves.
Not to be outdone, the Padres eliminated two 100-win teams on their path to the NLCS. The Friars knocked out the New York Mets 2-1 in the NLWCS and the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 in the NLDS.
Storylines to Watch
- 2019 Free Agency Class Head-to-Head: Bryce Harper vs Manny Machado
- Bryce Harper vs Blake Snell
- Brother vs Brother: Phillies’ SP Aaron Nola vs Padres’ C Austin Nola
- Phillies first NLCS appearance since 2010
- Padres first NLCS appearance since 1998
- Battle of the ‘Pens: Phillies Bullpen vs Padres Bullpen
- The Phillies rotation after Wheeler and Nola
The Phillies defeated the Padres in the season series 4-3.
- May 17 at PHI: Padres 3-0 | WP: Clevinger LP: Eflin SV: Rogers
- May 18 at PHI: Phillies 3-0 | WP: Wheeler LP: Snell SV: Knebel
- May 19 at PHI: Padres 2-0 | WP: Darvish LP: Gibson SV: Rogers
- June 23 at SD: Phillies 6-2 | WP: Suarez LP: Musgrove
- June 24 at SD: Padres 1-0 | WP: Crismatt LP: Nola SV: Rogers
- June 25 at SD: Phillies 4-2 | WP: Eflin LP: Snell SV: Dominguez
- June 26 at SD: Phillies 8-5 | WP: Nelson LP: Crismatt SV: Bellatti
Series at a Glance
The Phillies and Padres are mirror images of each other heading into the National League Championship Series. Both teams entered the postseason as the wild card and have dispatched the higher ranked teams on their way to play for the pennant.
The Phillies have relied on their two aces, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, and timely hitting from just about everyone. Bryce Harper is particularly starting to heat up, the reigning NL MVP was 8-for-18 with 3 2B, 2 HR, and 5 RBI in the NLDS against Atlanta.
Like the Phillies, the Padres have relied on their starting pitching and timely hitting to advance to the NLCS. The Friars have the triple threat of Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, and Blake Snell to counter the Phils’ one-two punch. Offensively, the Padres are led by CF Trent Grisham, C Austin Nola, and boppers Manny Machado and Juan Soto. Much like the Phillies, the Padres have been getting timely hitting from everyone in their lineup.
This series, much like their regular season series, will be close. The starting rotations and lineups of both teams are evently matched. The “X” factor in this series could very well come down to the bullpens. In that case, the Padres ‘pen has consistently been better than the Phillies.
But sometimes, there are forces beyond the scope of what is happening on the field that can propel a team to victory. Whatever is going on in the Phillies’ clubhouse is special and should not be discounted. Factor in postseason baseball at Citizens Bank Park and this series might just tilt in favor of the Phillies.
Series Prediction: Phillies defeat the Padres in 7-Games to Advance to the World Series
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