Yesterday saw the ALCS get set in stone as the Astros pipped the Twins 3-2 to win that series. That confirms that we will see a battle of Texas when Houston faces off against the Rangers starting this weekend. However, that wasn’t the last action in this year’s Divisional Series matchups.
Over in the National League, there was a pair of crucial Game 3s. One decided who took an important 2-1 lead, and another featured a team playing for their 2023 lives.
NLDS Game 3
(Phillies lead series 2-1)
In the one for the series lead, the Phillies crushed six home runs — including two each from Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos — as they demolished the Braves to get back with a game of an NLCS trip.
Atlanta had opened the game’s scoring on an Ozzie Albies RBI single in the top of the third, but the Phillies trumped that in a big way in the bottom half of the inning. Nick Castellanos got things started with a homer to tie things up, which was followed up by a Brandon Marsh single. After Braves pitcher Bryce Elder then got a couple outs to nearly get out of the inning, Trea Turner managed to keep the inning alive with an infield single that was just well placed enough for their to be no play on.
That brought Harper to the plate. He sent the Philadelphia crowd into a frenzy by demolishing a baseball into the second deck in right field.
The Phillies added a couple more runs before the inning ended thanks to J.T. Realmuto’s RBI double. Then two innings later Harper added his second homer of the day.
The Braves got a run back in the sixth, but any small chance they had at a rally was distinguished as the homers kept on coming, including ones from Trea Turner and Brandon Marsh. Atlanta will need a victory tonight in front of the boisterous Philly crowd to keep their season alive; otherwise, they’ll suffer the exact same fate as their 2022 team and go down in four in the division rival Phillies.
NLDS Game 3
(Diamondbacks win series 3-0)
Meanwhile in the later game, one action-packed inning helped the Diamondbacks to a sweep of the Dodgers and their first trip to the NLCS since 2007.
While this game didn’t start as immediately disastrously as either of the first two for the Dodgers, they did end up a big hole early. In a six-batter span, Geraldo Perdomo, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, and Gabriel Moreno all hit solo shots off Lance Lynn in the third inning to give Arizona the lead. It was the first time in MLB playoff history that a team went deep four times in a single frame, and remarkably, the last one came immediately after another Moreno shot was called foul upon replay review.
Lynn was out of the game after just 2.2 innings, as he followed Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller’s bad starts with a stinker of his own.
While that whole inning was certainly a pretty big blow, four runs shouldn’t have been a death blow for an offense as good as the Dodgers. However, they were held in check early by D-backs’ starter Brandon Pfaadt, who allowed just two hits over 4.1 innings. Former very-brief Yankee Joe Mantiply followed that with 1.1 perfect innings of his own.
They finally got something going on got on the board in the seventh. Four consecutive two-out singles led to runs when Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernández dropped in hits. However, they missed out on a chance to get even closer when pinch-hitter Austin Barnes grounded out after that on Andrew Saalfrank’s first and only pitch of the night.
After Arizona left a couple runners on in the bottom of the eighth, they sent on Paul Sewald to try and finish off the series. He started the inning with a strikeout, but then allowed a single and a very loud and deep fly out to Taylor. He then got Hernández to line out — albeit again a bit loudly — to end the game and send the Diamondbacks onto the NLCS. They’ll travel to either Atlanta or Philly for Game 1 on on Monday.
Although this is their third first-round exit in five years, the Dodgers hadn’t been swept in the playoffs since the 2006 NLDS against the Mets. With terrible starting pitching and a combined 1-for-21 performance at the plate from MVP candidates Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman, they absolutely earned it. Next up for LA will be a potential offseason pursuit of another nearby star: Shohei Ohtani.