After the experts at The Athletic picked the Atlanta Braves to win the National League Division Series by a count of eight votes to three, they are aligning themselves with the Philadelphia Phillies for the National League Championship Series and the World Series.
The Phillies weren't most people's favorites heading into the NLDS but sent the Braves home in four games to win their second straight postseason series against their division foe. Now, as the Fightins line up to face the upstart Arizona Diamondbacks in the best-of-seven NLCS, they are the favorites by most people's count.
Twenty-three of The Athletic's experts were polled for their winner of the NLCS, and all 23 sided with the Phillies. And, as the experts illustrate in their decisions, there are plenty of good reasons to pick Philadelphia to come out on top.
Home-field advantage, vibes and experience give the Phillies the edge
There are some recurring explanations for why the Phillies will win the NLCS. One of those is being the home team. Sam Blum argues, "This is a series where home field advantage might make a real difference. The Phillies are 4-0 in their ballpark this postseason."
In complete agreeance, Dennis Lin writes, "Citizens Bank Park has produced the best home-field advantage in postseason history..." and he would be correct. The Phillies head into the NLCS with a 26-11 record at The Bank, the best postseason mark for any home ballpark in playoff history.
And then there's the vibes of this Phillies team. They have swagger and momentum heading into the NLCS. Fabian Ardaya can't go against the Phillies' vibes, while Andy McCullough thinks it's all about the vibes and the Phillies' star power.
David O'Brien may explain it the best by saying that the "Phillies have the look of 'That Team' that is positioned to win it all..." and Jen McCaffrey points out that "Philly has more experience and has already gotten past a dominant Braves team."
The Phillies are also World Series favorites
Not only did The Athletic pick the Phillies to win the NLCS, but the experts also voted for the Phils to win the World Series. Although that vote wasn't unanimous, the Phillies are still large favorites to win it all, with 19 votes.
The Houston Astros received three votes, while the Texas Rangers, who won Game 1 of the ALCS, received a single vote of confidence. The Diamondbacks, as the new kids on the block, didn't get any experts picking them to win the Fall Classic.
"After losing last year, this looks like the Phillies year," writes Brittany Ghiroli. "Plain and simple."
Plain and simple, indeed, Now the Phillies just have to go out and put it together on the diamond.