Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Philadelphia Phillies are in the National League Championship Series after eliminating World Series-favorite Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series for a second consecutive year. They’re facing the underdog Arizona Diamondbacks team that swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS.
Although the Phillies underperformed during the regular season each of the past two years, they’ve found a way to turn on their intensity come October, which has them on the doorstep of a second straight World Series appearance.
They’ve have been aggressive in upgrading their roster over the previous few seasons, and the results have paid off. Among stars added have been Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, J.T. Realmuto, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and Zack Wheeler, all of whom have been key to the Phillies’ postseason success.
Walker Buehler has been able to watch the last two postseasons fully as an observer after undergoing a second Tommy John surgery, and he’s come to a conclusion on what is helping the Phillies be so successful in the playoffs, he discussed via Just Baseball Fans on YouTube:
“I think kind of the overwhelming thought for me on their team is they have a lot of professional baseball players. I know Harper touched on it and was like, ‘That’s why you pay these guys.’ That’s one way to look at it. There’s also just a lot of guys that have played a lot of important Major League Baseball games and have played for a long time. You can kind of see whatever nerves or increase in atmosphere, they’re taking it and pulling positives out of it and it’s not going to shrink them. Obviously we saw them make a run like this last year and seemingly doing it again. Just a lot of pros and a lot of guys that have handled the moment well.”
As for the Dodgers, they’re still searching for answers on what went wrong in their last three playoff runs. Their team has both talent and experience, but that has not benefitted them with three consecutive surprising postseason exits.
Some of the blame may be attributed to manager Dave Roberts, or the front office for failing to address the team’s biggest needs with quality talent. But the focus also needs to be on the players, and specifically Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman for failing when it mattered most.
While the Phillies are getting other-worldly production from their superstars, the Dodgers’ pair went a combined 1-for-21 in the NLDS, with the lone hit being an infield single. The duo had multiple opportunities to win a game or swing momentum for the Dodgers, but consistently came up short in the NLDS.
Phillies dominating Diamondbacks
The Phillies continued their postseason run with a 5-3 victory over the Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the NLCS, and followed that with a resounding 10-0 shutout on Tuesday night.
Schwarber, Harper, Castellanos and Trea Turner have continued to show their power swings and strong starting pitching has also been key for the Phillies thus far.
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