Phillies feats to remember from Aaron Nola, Rob Thomson and Kyle Schwarber
For the first time since 2011, the Philadelphia Phillies are postseason-bound. With the Milwaukee Brewers coming from behind to win in their respective game, interim manager Rob Thomson’s squad was able to punch a ticket to Red October by its own doing — and they did just that, blanking the Houston Astros, 3-0, Monday evening.
Aaron Nola was dominant. Kyle Schwarber and Bryson Stott provided all the offense with a combined trio of solo home runs. Jose Alvarado and Zach Eflin notched the hold and save, respectively, in relief. The Phillies beat a 104-win Astros team in perfect fashion, and can now look ahead to a three-game Wild Card series starting Friday.
Calling the final out was Phillies television broadcaster Tom McCarthy:
"“Eflin’s got his signs. Realmuto sets up outside. The 3-2 pitch. Swing and a fly ball. Shallow center field. Coming on is Marsh. Still coming on. Makes the catch! The ballgame is over! The drought is over after 11 seasons! The Philadelphia Phillies are going back to the postseason. They’ll represent the National League as a Wild Card representative! And they celebrate behind the mound and this is a long time coming!”"
Lost in the excitement of the Phillies finally clinching a postseason appearance after a decade-plus-long drought were three incredible statistics. The first relates to their starting pitcher. As SportsRadio 94 WIP’s Joe Giglio notes, Nola became just the second pitcher in Major League Baseball history to strike out at least 230 batters (235) and walk 30 or fewer (29) in a season.
Nola took a perfect game into the seventh inning, punched out nine Astros batters and walked none in the postseason-clincher. Including his Monday evening effort, he struck out nine or more batters in 10 of his 32 starts. Nola had 12 starts this season with zero walks surrendered.
Nola won’t win the Cy Young Award, but the right-hander had incredible regular season stuff that hopefully will translate to meaningful postseason baseball, starting this weekend in the Wild Card Series.