The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


Red October: Phillies Postseason Journey

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Inquirer
The Phillies’ celebration following their victory over the Houston Astros, securing a wild-card spot.

With the Phillies now moving on to the National League Championship Series to face the Arizona Diamondbacks, Red October is sweeping across the entire Philadelphia area with excitement as the Phillies try to make it back to the World Series for the second year in a row, this time to win it.

It was unexpected for the Phillies to get to the World Series last year. Making it to the postseason for the first time since 2011, people were excited just for a chance to play in the Wild Card round. But when they beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card round, the Atlanta Braves in the Division Series, and the San Diego Padres in the National League Championship Series, the fans rallied around the team before the surprise run ended in a loss to the Houston Astros in the World Series.

Once the season ended, fans had high expectations, knowing that the team had what it took to win the World Series. With key offseason additions to the team in free agency such as shortstop Trea Turner, closer Craig Kimbrel and relief pitcher Matt Strahm, the team was looking to impress. However, Turner had a lousy start to the year, which no one imagined given his newly signed 11-year, 300 million-dollar contract. But, after a standing ovation from the fans to gain his confidence, he began to hit more home runs. In relation to home runs, the team set a franchise record with 59 homers in a month, done in August. Bryce Harper experienced a slow start but recovered following his return from Tommy John surgery for a UCL tear during the offseason.

The younger players on the team stood out with second baseman Bryson Stott showing significant improvement in both his offensive and defensive skills. Brandon Marsh had a consistently solid performance and rookie center fielder Johan Rojas provided the Phillies with great speed and fielding. The Phillies finished the season with a record of 90-72, with high hopes for what was to come in October.

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In the playoffs, their first matchup was against the Miami Marlins. The format of the Wild Card round, newly instituted in Major League Baseball in 2022 consists of a best-of-three series, with all games being played at the higher seed team’s ballpark (in this case, the Phillies). This increases the likelihood of upsets, as a team’s season can come to an end after just two bad games. However, the Phillies capitalized on their opportunities. The Phillies defeated the Marlins 4-1 in Game 1, with great pitching from ace Zack Wheeler, who in 6.2 innings gave up just one run, and RBIs (runs batted in) from Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott, Cristian Pache and Nick Castellanos, before Craig Kimbrel sealed the Marlins’ fate in the ninth inning with a save. In Game 2, the Phillies bid the Marlins goodbye with a score of 7-1, led by Aaron Nola’s seven shutout innings and a grand slam by Bryson Stott, a knockout blow that got the Phillies looking to the next round.

The Atlanta Braves, who were the Phillies’ opponents in the best-of-five National League Division Series, tied for hitting the most home runs in a season, totaling 307, a record they shared with the 2019 Minnesota Twins. Game 1, played in Atlanta, was a true pitchers’ duel, with the Phillies defeating the Braves 3-0. The Phillies outperformed Atlanta pitcher Spencer Strider, with Strider giving up two runs off of an RBI single by Stott and a home run by Harper. Ranger Suarez locked the Braves down for 3.2 innings before getting taken out by Phillies manager Rob Thomson, who has notably shown a tendency to make starting pitcher changes early in the game in the postseason over the past two years. The Phillies bullpen showed its strength with 5.1 innings of a no-run ball from Jeff Hoffman, Seranthony Dominguez, Jose Alvarado, rookie Orion Kerkering, Matt Strahm and Craig Kimbrel to close it out.

With Game 2 also being played in Atlanta, the Phillies were very confident while still facing a challenge. With the Phillies up 4-0 in the fifth inning and Zack Wheeler in the midst of pitching a no-hitter, Phillies fans weren’t worried a bit. However, the Braves won 104 games for a reason, and a few careless fielding plays by the Phillies gave the Braves some hope. Once Travis D’Arnaud hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning off of Wheeler, the Braves fans grew more excited. The pressure got to the Phillies who blew the lead in the eighth inning with Austin Riley hitting a home run to left field off of the Phillies’ usually reliable set-up man Jeff Hoffman. While down 4-5 in the ninth inning, there was still hope for the Phillies. After Bryce Harper got on first base, Nick Castellanos hit a fly ball to center field, where Braves’ center fielder Michael Harris II made a catch. Harper’s aggressive baserunning resulted in a double play that shattered the Phillies’ hopes. While a very disappointing game, Phillies fans were still hopeful as two wins in Philadelphia would end the Braves’ year.

Postseason baseball in Philadelphia always sends Philly fans into a frenzy. With everyone on their feet from first pitch to the final out, the fans make noise, wave their red rally towels, and chant “Let’s go Phillies” or other words of encouragement (or detriment to the opposing team), trying to urge on the Phillies to help secure a win. And that is exactly what happened. In total, they hit six home runs, including two each from Harper and Castellanos. One of the most notable plays was Harper’s three-run homer in the third inning to put the Phillies up 4-1.
The pitching matchup was the same as Game 1, with Suarez pitching for five innings and letting up only one run. Strider, however, did not fare as well. Getting mocked severely by the fans for saying in prior weeks that he did not like fans to be at his games, he succumbed to the pressure, giving up 3 solo home runs to left field, one by Turner and two by Castellanos. With those two home runs, Castellanos became the first player in postseason history to have consecutive multi home run games. Inconsistent pitching from Jose Alvarado and Craig Kimbrel led to a bases-loaded, two-out situation with Ronald Acuña at bat. The stadium got very quiet as Acuña launched a deep fly ball to center field, but turned ecstatic after Johan Rojas made a leaping catch. Matt Strahm would seal the deal for the Phillies, whose 3-1 win would send them back to the National League Championship Series to face the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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