Pulling off victories in the playoffs can never be too easy for the Phillies, but Monday night they were able to scrape together a massive Game 1 win over the Diamondbacks in this year's NLCS.
With a dominant Zack Wheeler on the mound and home runs from Kyle Schwarber, Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos, even the sometimes-sketchy Phillies bullpen couldn't falter enough to keep the Phillies out of the win column.
Schwarber's first-inning home run (that still has not landed, by the way) got the scoring going in the best way possible. His 420-foot nuke came on the very first pitch Zac Gallen threw and the momentum was on Philadelphia's side throughout the remainder of the contest, despite the Diamondbacks' best efforts to stage a late-game comeback with runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
This absolute annihilation of a baseball gave Schwarber sole possession of a unique postseason home run record. His leadoff dinger gives him four leadoff home runs in his storied playoff career, which put him above Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter on the all-time leaderboard.
“Fans were into it. It just gets the crowd going. You’re seeing a frenzy. It put an extra layer on what the atmosphere was already. The crowd was with us the whole entire night", he said after the game.
J.T. Realmuto loved the home run as well, and said "I don't know how you could not be ready for it", in his post-game comments.
Schwarber, 30, knows a thing or two about hitting home runs to the next city over. In 2022, he led the National League with a career-high 46 big flies and 94 driven in. He promptly followed that up with 47 this year and 104 runs batted in, both career highs. His "home run or bust" profile has proved to be frustrating at times (he has lead the majors in strikeouts two years in a row), but he has a knack for coming up in the game's biggest moments.
His extensive playoff track record undoubtedly played a role in the Phillies bringing him aboard in the first place. He is a former World Series champ (2016 Cubs) and was an important figure in the Phillies' 2022 run to the World Series. In the NLCS last year, he went 6-for-21 with five runs scored, three home runs and six walks versus just three strikeouts. He followed that up with a 5-for-20 showing in the World Series against the Astros, hitting three more runs and drawing six more walks.
It's clear that Schwarber thrives when the heat is turned all the way up, so enjoy the rest of this historic playoff run, folks.