Phillies clinch first playoff berth since 2011 as National League playoff ground is established

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Chicago Cubs
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The Philadelphia Phillies became the 12th and final team to earn a playoff berth on Monday, earning their ticket with a 3-0 win over the Houston Astros. The Phillies will qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2011. This season turned out to be the final year in a streak that saw them appear in five consecutive playoffs.

In the decisive victory, the Phillies got a pair of home runs from Kyle Schwarber, who now has 46 this season, and right-hander Aaron Nola had a perfect game in the seventh inning. Zach Eflin worked a perfect ninth for his first career save.

It’s fair to write that the Phillies have taken an unusual route thus far. They started the season poorly under former manager Joe Girardi, rushing to a 22-29 start before Girardi was fired. Interim captain Rob Thomson has since guided the Phillies to a 65-44 record. It would be prorated to 97 wins over a full season.

The Phillies’ chances appeared to take a major hit when star Bryce Harper was sidelined for two months with an injury. Still, their supporting cast has proven to be good enough to keep them afloat. Indeed, Philadelphia can credit Schwarber, JT Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins, among others, with leading the charge. On the pitching side, the Phillies have a strong four-pitch team made up of proven veterans like Nola and Zack Wheeler, along with young Rangers Suárez and Bailey Falter.

The Phillies had jockeyed alongside the Brewers after a tough September that saw them go 11-14. That putrid month included two separate five-game losing streaks that were only separated by a three-game winning streak. In other words, the Phillies lost 10 of 13 games from September 15-29.

The rest of the National League playoff field will include the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. The Phillies’ victory on Monday meant the Brewers were eliminated despite their extra win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. This ends a streak of four consecutive playoff appearances for Milwaukee.

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