After a wet weekend in Washington, and a wild one in Milwaukee, only one playoff spot remains up for grabs. Thirteen teams have clinched playoff berths, and the only spot remaining is in the National League.
On Thursday, the Phillies lost in Chicago, as they were swept by the Cubs, and the Brewers gave up a late-inning grand slam to lose their game to the Marlins. Only half a game separated the two teams on Friday morning.
The Phillies now hold a two-game lead over the Brewers for the final wild card spot in the N.L. The weekend was filled with plenty of drama. Let’s take a look at how things unfolded.
The Phillies and Nationals were scheduled to play a doubleheader on Saturday, but it was moved to Friday due to possible inclement weather. The second game on Friday was then moved back to Saturday, so only one game was played in Washington on Friday afternoon between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Phillies got a solid outing from starter Bailey Falter, who pitched six shutout innings, allowing three hits while walking two and striking out six. Zach Eflin, Jose Alvarado, and Seranthony Dominguez came on in relief and allowed just one run between them.
The offense got going early, as Rhys Hoskins homered in the top half of the first inning.
Hoskins would also drive in a run on a single later in the game. Philadelphia struggled with runners in scoring position, going 4-for-14 during Friday’s game, but were ultimately able to score some runs and win the game 5-1.
In Milwaukee, there was a pitcher’s duel. Two of the game’s best pitchers went head-to-head with Corbin Burnes pitching for Milwaukee and Sandy Alcantara for Miami.
Burnes went eight innings, striking out seven on four hits, and giving up no runs. Alcantara’s line was very similar. He threw eight innings giving up five hits, striking out eight, and allowing one run on a sacrifice fly by Rowdy Tellez in the bottom of the 6th.
Miami did not go down without a fight, as they loaded the bases in the top of the 9th. Devin Williams walked two during the inning but was able to get out of trouble by striking out Jesus Sanchez to end the game.
The Brewers won 1-0.
With both Philadelphia and Milwaukee winning on Friday, the Phillies held on to their half-game lead heading into Saturday.
In Washington, the Phillies did not get off to a good start as they lost game one of their doubleheader with the Nationals 13-4. Kyle Gibson, who has not pitched well over the last month, went six innings and gave up seven runs for the Phillies. The Nationals added on six more runs against Phillies relievers Nick Nelson and Chris Devenski.
The Phillies’ offense struggled to get anything going in game one, as they were shut out in their final five innings at the plate. They went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base.
Game two of the doubleheader was a completely different story. The Nationals struggled at the plate, and the Phillies’ bats were red hot.
Noah Syndergaard started on the mound for the Phillies and threw five and two-thirds shutout innings. Washington scored two runs in the bottom of the 9th, but that is all they were able to muster offensively.
As for the Phillies’ offense, they came out swinging early and often, with much success. Kyle Schwarber led off the game with a home run, for this 43rd homer on the year, and added another homer in the 4th inning.
Philadelphia hit three home runs in the top of the 3rd inning. Alec Bohm and Brandon Marsh went back-to-back and Matt Vierling also homered.
The Phillies won the game 8-2 and split their doubleheader with the Nationals.
In Milwaukee, there was more late-inning drama. Marlins’ starter Edward Cabrera threw three shutout innings before being pulled with an injury before the 4th inning. Miami was able to score two runs early in the game off of Brewers’ starter Aaron Ashby, who went four and one-third innings, and only gave up two runs.
Christian Yelich homered to put the Brewers on the board in the bottom of the 4th. In the bottom of the 6th, Luis Urias was hit by a pitch and Victor Caratini grounded out, both with the bases loaded, to drive in two runs to put Milwaukee up 3-2.
With Devin Williams on the mound, and the Brewers leading, the Marlins fought their way back into the game. They had runners on second and third with one out. Bryan De La Cruz singled to left field to drive in both runners to give Miami the lead.
Milwaukee would go down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th inning, losing 4-3.
Heading into Sunday, the Phillies’ lead over Milwaukee was one game.
More rain in Washington meant an ugly day at the ballpark. Philadelphia was able to keep up their productivity on offense though, as they scored eight runs. Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, Jean Segura, and Bryson Stott all had RBIs, with Realmuto contributing via the long-ball. As a team, they went 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
The Phillies also got a great performance out of their ace Zack Wheeler, who pitched five shutout innings. He gave up two hits and struck out seven.
The game was sent into a rain delay after six innings and would never be resumed. After being called an official game, the Phillies won 8-1.
The Brewers and Marlins created more dramatics in a twelve-inning affair Sunday afternoon. Heading into the bottom of the 8th, the Brewers were down 2-0. Thanks to a Christian Yelich ground out in the 8th, and a Kolten Wong single in the 9th, the Brewers tied the game 2-2.
Both teams scored in the 10th inning, and even though Milwaukee had the winning run ninety feet away with one out in the bottom of the 11th, they were unable to walk things off.
Marlins’ reliever Huascar Brazoban escaped the jam in the 11th by striking out Luis Urias for the second out of the inning. Brazoban then got Tyrone Taylor to ground out to third for the final out of the 11th.
The game was tied 3-3 heading into the 12th, where Miami was able to finish things off. Miguel Rojas singled with two outs and two strikes to give the Marlins the lead. Tanner Scott came on in relief for Miami and got the save, as Miami won 4-3.
With a two-game lead over the Brewers, the Phillies head to Houston to take on the Astros. Milwaukee stays at home to play the Diamondbacks.
The Phillies are scheduled to face Houston starters Lance McCullers Jr., Justin Verlander, and Framber Valdez. They will send Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez to the mound in the first two games, with Bailey Falter scheduled to pitch on Wednesday.
Milwaukee starts their series with the Diamondbacks by sending Brandon Woodruff to the mound on Monday, followed by Eric Lauer on Tuesday and Corbin Burnes on Wednesday. They are scheduled to face Arizona starters Tommy Henry, Zac Gallen, and Merrill Kelly.
After a weekend of ups and downs for both the Phillies and Brewers, the Phillies could clinch a playoff berth on Monday night. With a win or a Brewers loss, Philadelphia would clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2011.
No matter what happens, the next three days should be fun to watch as some teams get ready to compete for a World Series championship, and others will begin to look forward to 2023.
Featured Photo: Twitter / @Phillies