Photo: Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer

With the 2022 midsummer classic in the books, the push towards the playoffs will be in full swing when the Phils return to Philadelphia to face the Chicago Cubs in a three game series on Friday. 

After sweeping the Marlins last weekend, the Phillies breathed a sigh of relief, as this allowed them to move up into the third spot in the NL Wild Card. According to my article last week, “Moving forward, the MLB playoffs will include: 

  • 3 division winners from AL
  • 3 division winners from NL
  • 3 wild card teams from AL
  • 3 wild card teams from NL” 

If the playoffs started today, the Phillies would advance. However, 70 games remain in the regular season, and teams can change significantly in this time span. 

Phils interim manager Rob Thomson stated, “We’ve still got 70 games to go… It’s a long way. Take it one game, one series at a time and keep fighting.”

Looking ahead, the Phillies will face the 35-57 Cubs this weekend, which should be an easy series win, if they keep the momentum rolling. 

During the Marlins series, some standout stars include starting pitchers Kyle Gibson, Ranger Suarez and Aaron Nola. In the series opener, Kyle Gibson pitched six innings and struck out five, and allowed only one run on four hits. 

In game two, Ranger Suarez, making his first start since June 29th, pitched five scoreless innings, and allowed four hits, with four punchouts. 

After his impressive performance, the Venezualen native commented, “Sure. But not only me. Everyone has to do their part for us to make the playoffs.” 

Aaron Nola got the baseball in the series finale, and pitched remarkably. The right-hander allowed four hits, walked none and hit double digits in strikeouts (10), through 8 ⅓ innings. 

As for offense, the Phillies bats exploded as they scored 16 runs over three games. 

According to Paige Leckie of MLB.com, “After missing two games on the restricted list while the Phillies were in Toronto, it was fitting that (J.T.) Realmuto showed out on Friday to the tune of a 3-for-4 night that included a game-winning RBI double and the hit that ended Alcantara’s perfect-game bid in the fifth inning.” 

Didi Gregorious put an end to his home run drought this season, hitting his first bomb of the season on Sunday, giving the Phils a 9-0 lead. Nick Castellanos, Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm,  Matt Vierling, and Yairo Munoz’s bats also came alive in the series.   

Every Phillies fan knows that the Marlins always find a way to take down the Phillies, despite their losing record over the last decade and a half. The Fightin’s finally found a way to end this streak, as they earned their first sweep over Miami since 2010. 

Keys Moving Forward 

If the Phils want to secure their spot in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, they must win as many series as possible. The more games they win, the more comfortable a lead they will gain on hungry teams in the NL Wild Card. The Phils have Kyle Gibson on the mound on Friday night vs. Cubs lefty Justin Steele; first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 P.M. 

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