Phillies on brink of Wild Card berth ahead of final series against Astros

Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Phillies are on the verge of ending their 10-plus-year postseason drought.

The Philadelphia Phillies are on the doorstep of the postseason. With a win in Sunday’s rain-shortened game against the Washington Nationals, interim manager Rob Thomson’s squad brought its magic number down to two. Things got even better later in the day, as the Miami Marlins defeated the Milwaukee Brewers — lowering the Phillies’ magic number to just one.

Behind right-hander Aaron Nola, the Phillies will now turn their attention to the Houston Astros for the final series of the 2022 regular season. Any combination of just one Phillies win or one Brewers loss in the next three days will result in the Phillies clinching a postseason spot for the first time since 2011.

Nola will pitch Monday night against Lance McCullers Jr., as the Astros plan on playing to win — despite having the American League West locked up. This will be the biggest start of Nola’s career and time will tell if he can handle the pressure.

Tuesday’s contest will feature Ranger Suarez and Astros’ age-defying ace Justin Verlander. Verlander is an American League Cy Young Award candidate and has posted a 1.80 ERA this season at age 39. Suarez has pitched very well lately as well. In his last 18 innings, he has surrendered just three earned runs.

Wednesday’s season finale will feature Bailey Falter and Houston’s Framber Valdez. Like the rest of Houston’s starting pitching, Valdez has had a solid season. He will come into Wednesday with a 2.89 ERA. Falter has been an integral part of the Phillies rotation and is one of the reasons that the team has a solid chance to make the playoffs.

While the Astros will be a tough test and boast a very good starting rotation, the Phillies are sending out pitchers that have gotten them to this point and can win baseball games. Even if the Phils do not clinch Monday, they still have a very good shot of giving Philadelphia its first “Red October” in more than a decade.

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