Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies advanced to the NLCS with an 8-3 victory over the Braves on Saturday in Game 4 of their best-of-five Division Series. It’s the first NLCS appearance for Philly since 2010.
They’ll open Tuesday at San Diego in an all-wild card NLCS after the Padres stunned the 111-win Los Angeles Dodgers 5-3 to win their Division Series in four games. San Diego is in the NLCS for the first time in 24 years.
Philadelphia was 22-29 when it fired Joe Girardi on June 3 and promoted Rob Thomson from bench coach to interim manager.
The 59-year-old Thomson, who had been a career coach for the Yankees and Phillies, directed Philadelphia to an 87-75 finish and an NL wild card. Now the Phillies are in the NLCS for the first time since they were eliminated by San Francisco in 2010.
“Once we hit June, the schedule kind of lightened up a little bit and we started winning, and guys started getting confidence and believing that they could win and believing that, OK, now this is the team that we thought we were,” Thomson said. “And just kept going.”
Thomson is the first Canadian-born manager to lead a team to the postseason. He had his interim tag removed on Monday when the club announced his new two-year contract.
END OF THE ROAD
San Diego sends the Dodgers home 5-3 to win the NLDS 3-1.
Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and the Dodgers dropped three straight to the Padres in a painful NLDS defeat after the best regular-season record in club history (111-51) and manager Dave Roberts’ prediction during spring training that they’d win the World Series.
“Shock factor, very high. Disappointment, very high. It’s crushing,” Roberts said. “Each guy gave everything they had all year long, and a tremendous season. The great thing about baseball is the unpredictability, and the tough thing about it is the same thing.
“Nothing I can say is going to make it feel any better. Obviously we didn’t expect to be in this position,” he added.
The Dodgers are left with an empty feeling. They won the NL West for the ninth time in 10 seasons and finished 22 games ahead of San Diego. The Dodgers went 14-5 against the Padres in the regular season and had won nine straight regular-season series against them.
“These guys dominated us all year long, but we got hot at the right time,” Padres pitcher Joe Musgrove said. “It’s a good feeling.”