The Underdog Phillies ‘Dance’ through Playoffs to Claim Spot in ‘22 World Series


Jonathan Eisen

Fans will wave their towels to support their hometown Philadelphia Phillies tonight against the Houston Astros in the Fall Classic.

Evan Bartlett, Staff Writer

When watching this year’s Phillies early in the season, fans were appalled. Appalled by the team’s 22-29 start. Appalled by the star players underperforming and appalled by statistics-driven strategies under manager Joe Girardi.

But to change this underwhelming start to the season, The Phillies unexpectedly fired him, and the rest of the season would go on to make history.

Bench coach Rob Thomson stepped up to the plate to become the new manager. Thomson’s first game as manager went exceptionally well, as the Phils won a 10-0 final score against superstar Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels. The team came out swinging with a total of 5 home runs, but Thomson also had the defense diving and leaping for balls as outfielders Odubel Herrera and Nick Maton made incredible plays to keep Trout hitless throughout the day. After this game, many Phillies fans had a feeling for what was in store for the rest of the season.

Most of the new fanbase were mere toddlers the last time the Phillies even clinched a seat in the playoffs, so sitting back and watching this dream team win game after game has been inspiring for younger and older fans alike.

Now, how did we get here?

The Phils became beasts at the plate from April to September to put the team in the Wild Card slot, which got us into the playoffs. Once there, The Phillies had to face the St. Louis Cardinals away at Busch Stadium for all three possible games.

The first game of three started unconvincingly, as pinch hitter Juan Yepez rocked a two-run homer to shallow left field in the seventh inning. However, the Phillies came right back in the top of the ninth to put bases loaded for Phillies third baseman Alec Bohm, who was pelted by a 101 mph fastball by all-star closer Ryan Helsey. Second baseman Jean Segura quickly got the Phightins to a nice firm score with a one-out two-RBI single through second base. Now up 3-2, The Phillies had a small grasp towards the win and just needed to record three more outs once this rally inning was over. A couple of key hits and errors allowed the Phillies to claim victory with a 6-3 win. 

The day after was a great day to be a Phillie. The team yet again beat the Cardinals 2-0, as a solo homer by Bryce Harper and a sacrifice fly by Kyle Schwarber helped them defeat the Cardinals which advanced them to the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves. 

Only 14 Wild Card teams have reached the World Series since 1903 when the Fall Classic was first brought into the baseball world.

The Phils advanced to the first game against last year’s World Champion Atlanta Braves, and the first game was the opposite of a pitchers’ duel. 21 hits in total across both teams were recorded. Jean Segura, Bryce Harper, Nick Castellanos, J.T Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, Rhyce Hoskins, and Kyle Schwarber all were noted as key players in this first game of the series, working as a team. Any spectator could feel the desire and energy to win coming from the dugout. 

The next day, however, the Phillies got shutout 3-0 after a trio of RBI singles by Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud, first baseman Matt Olson, and third baseman Austin Riley. This was a day to forget or maybe even a game to learn from by both the coaching staff and players. 

With the series tied, it was clear that the Phillies needed this win to create a little breathing room for the series. Friday, the Phillies came back quickly nearly annihilating the Braves at Citizens Bank Park by a score of 9-1. Ace starting pitcher Aaron Nola pitched an absolute gem for 6 innings, only allowing one run, with 6 strikeouts. No hits or scores from either team happened until the bottom of the third, which was when Phillies stars Harper, Realmuto, and Schwarber were beyond incredible at the plate and helped contribute to the high score. Seeing the fans waving their “Red October” flags showed the true dedication of this city and the importance of home-field advantage in Philadelphia.

After the win, the home team was up 2-1 over the Braves in a best-of-5 series, which looked promising for the organization because of the line of pitching coming up for them. The next day, Saturday, Oct 15, was the day that will be remembered in the series because of yet another big Philly win. The final score was 8-3, which was the first time since 2010 that the Phillies made it past this point. The Phillies won this series and only allowed 1 win to the team that everyone thought was going to win.  

The National League Championship series against the San Diego Padres was the final series before the World Series, which many considered to be the most challenging in retrospect. The Padres had defeated the New York Mets and 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers already in the postseason, and they looked phenomenal. 

Most of the games were sluggfests for both teams as Schwarber and Hoskins hit many home runs to push the Phillies past the Padres in the series to advance them to the World Series against the heavily-favored Houston Astros, who have yet to lose a single playoff game. Fans far and wide would note Saturday as being the most intense in the series, as the Phils had to come back from a 0-4 deficit after the first inning. The Phillies would win that game 10-6. 

But the most exciting moment would come in the eighth inning of the fifth and final game of the series. Faced with heading back to San Diego, the Phillies bats struggled to get going on Sunday in tough weather. That was until Harper stepped to the plate and, like this was a movie, the Phillies superstar sent a high fastball over the left field fence to give the home team the lead. You could not have asked for a more miraculous ending to the series that would send the Phillies back to the World Series for the first time since 2009.  

The Phillies hope to maintain their hot streak tonight at 8:08 as they take on the Houston Astros in Texas. The teams will return to Philly on Monday, Oct. 31, and you can guarantee the poles will be greased and the fans will be waving their “Red October” flags as the team looks to dance their way to the title as the 2022 World Champions.