Phillies sweep Cardinals with 2-0 shutout to advance to NLDS
The Phillies eliminated the Cardinals with a 2-0 shutout victory in game 2 of the NL wild-card series and will now face the Braves in the NLDS.
Phillies Win Series 2-0, Eliminate St. Louis Cardinals
- Winning Pitcher: Aaron Nola (1-0, 0.00)
- Losing Pitcher: Miles Mikolas (0-1, 4.15)
- Save: Zach Eflin (1, 4.50)
There were two crucial spots in this ballgame and Phillies manager Rob Thompson rolled the dice twice and came out victorious.
The first was removing Aaron Nola from the game after he had give up a two-out single to Corey Dickerson in the 7th inning. Nola was approaching 100 pitches and really had not been in serious trouble throughout the entire game. Thompson is clearly going to ride the hot hand of Jose Alvarez and sink or swim based on the outcome.
It didn’t work on Friday night, as Alvarez ended up surrendering the go-ahead home run to Juan Yepez. But on Saturday, Alvarez shut down Yadier Molina for the third out and also was able to return in the 8th, picking up the first out.
The second spot was in the insanely stressful 8th inning when Thompson went to the bullpen bringing in Seranthony Dominguez in relief of Jose Alvarez. It would have been easy to question Thompson’s decision to give the ball to a reliever who had an ERA north of 11 over the last month. Going from your hottest reliever to your coldest in search of a favorable matchup with the game on the line was certainly a ballsy move.
Dominguez immediately allowed a single to Albert Pujols and appeared like he may give up the lead right then and there. With the Busch Stadium crowd rising to its feet in anticipation of a massive momentum swing, the Phillies infielders huddled around Dominguez on the mound. Apparently the pause in action and reinforcement from his teammates calmed Seranthony, because he was able to strike out the Cardinals best two hitters in Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado to end the inning.
Of course, it all looks good because it worked out for Rob Thompson. But I think we should give him credit for managing a hell of a game and elevating the ceiling of a team with a ton of flaws. If anything else, we can certainly give him credit for really having the pulse of his team.
Aaron Nola certainly silenced any remaining doubters after turning in an absolutely clutch performance in Game 2. In his first career playoff start, Nola showed that when he’s clicking on all cylinders, he’s among the best pitchers in all of baseball.
Nola’s pitching line : 6.2 IP | 4 H | 0 ER | 1 BB | 6 K
Nola completely shut down the top of the Cardinals lineup, only allowed a pair singles to the first and last batters he faced. Lars Nootbar reached base in the in the 1st inning and then Nola was removed with two outs in the 7th inning after allowing a single to Albert Pujols.
In Wheeler who was just as good in a Game 1 victory and Nola the Phillies seemingly now have one of the most dangerous pitching combinations left in the playoffs that can shorten a series and give you a chance to beat a far superior team like the Atlanta Braves.
Postseason baseball is coming back to Citizens Bank Park!
Up Next for the Phillies
The Phillies advance to the NLDS where they will take on the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves with Game 1 scheduled for Tuesday at Truist Park in Atlanta. First pitch its still TBD.
Ranger Suarez (0-0, 0.00) will take the mound facing off against TBD (0-0, 0.00)
After allowing a lead-off double, Aaron Nola finishes of Nolan Arenado to escape the 1st inning threat.
Bryce Harper hits an absolute moonshot off Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas to give the Phils a huge early lead in Game 2.
Alec Bohm makes a great defensive play to rob Yadier Molina of a base hit in the 3rd inning.
Bohm does it again in the 4th inning robbing a double this time from Nolan Arenado.
Nola gets Brenden Donovan swinging to end the Cards half of the 4th.
Alec Bohm leads of the 5th inning with a ground rule double to left field. Lets goooo!
Kyle Schwarber knocks in the second run of the night for the Phils with a sac-fly off Jordan Montgomery in the 5th inning.
Nola strands a Cardinals runner at second base by getting Tommy Edman to ground out ending the 5th inning.
Bryce Harper moves JT Realmuto to third base but gets called out trying to take second base.
The Phillies challenged the ruling on the field that Bryce Harper was tagged out at second base but the ruling on the field would stand. Wow…even to Michael Kay and ARod he sure looked safe.
Alec Bohm gets caught in a pickle on the base paths and the Phils are tragically unable to score in the 6th inning. Wow, what a blown opportunity! The Phillies could have had runners on first and third with nobody out.
Brandon Marsh leads off the 7th inning with a double to right center field off Jordan Montgomery.
Both Bryson Stott and Kyle Schwarber are unable to bring the runner home at third base. The second straight scoring opportunity wasted by the Phils.
Seranthony Dominguez comes in for Jose Alvarado and gets Paul Goldschmidt swinging for the second out a tense 8th inning.
Nolan Arenado goes down swinging on a nasty 91 mph slider from Seranthony Dominguez to end the 8th inning. Wow, an absolutely huge two outs from Seranthony there!
Zach Eflin gets Juan Yepez to fly out to right field for the second out of the 9th inning.
Holy shit! The Phils are going to the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves after Zach Eflin forces Tommy Edman to pop up in foul territory for the final out in the 9th inning.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Philadelphia Phillies