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Shades of 1993: Phillies 8, Braves 3

The Phillies finish off the Braves and advance to the NLCS

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies
After this home run, it was all but over
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are headed to the National League Championship Series!

Much like the last time they faced the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs, the Phillies - despite being seen as heavy underdogs - were the team that prevailed. With their 8-3 victory over the defending champions, the Philadelphia Phillies closed out the NLDS, and will advance on to the next round of the playoffs.

With an opportunity to clinch the series, Manager Rob Thomson said that every pitcher besides Aaron Nola would be available on Saturday. After the first two innings, it looked like he might only need one. Noah Syndergaard retired the Braves in order and looked pretty good doing it. However, his velocity was down in the third inning, and he gave up a solo home run to Orlando Arcia, so Thomson stuck to his plan to only have Syndergaard go through the Braves’ order once.

The Phillies missed a prime opportunity to give their mix-and-match pitching staff some early support by leaving two men on base in the first inning. But in the second inning, Alec Bohm lined a ball off the pitching elbow of Braves starter Charlie Morton that might have changed the trajectory of the day. Older fans remarked how a similar line drive off of Greg Maddux’s leg in the 1993 NLCS may have impaired his performance in that game.

Much like Maddux, the rest of the day didn’t go well for Morton, starting with this at bat by Brandon Marsh.

The fun didn’t stop there. J.T. Realmuto hit an inside-the-park home run thanks in part to right field Ronald Acuna, Jr. apparently not caring enough to chase after the ball with any sense of urgency.

The Phillies left some runners on base in the following innings, but that was okay because they kept getting a lot of them on. Eventually that paid off when the Phillies added three more in the sixth, staking them to a five-run lead.

Despite a hiccup or two, the Phillies bullpen methodically recorded outs. Andrew Bellatti, Brad Hand, Jose Alvarado, and Zach Eflin kept the Braves from ever truly threatening. And when Bryce Harper restored the Phillies cushion to five runs with an eighth inning home run, the game seemed as good as won.

Seranthony Dominguez was called upon to finish it off. He did not disappoint, striking out the side. When he finished off the stupidly named Dansby Swanson, Phillies fans were free to start planning their trips to Southern California.

The other NLDS series between the Dodgers and Padres is still in progress, and the Phillies will head out West to take on the winner. Neither team will be an easy opponent, but as the Braves could surely tell you, neither are the Phillies.