Phillies become what the Mets should have been, knock off Braves

Oct 15, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper (3) gestures after hitting a home run in the eight inning against the Atlanta Braves in game four of the NLDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Phillies designated hitter Bryce Harper (3) gestures after hitting a home run in the eight inning against the Atlanta Braves in game four of the NLDS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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In the end, it wasn’t the New York Mets that the Atlanta Braves had to worry about being their biggest threat within their own division to keep them from repeating as World Series champions. It  was the Philadelphia Phillies.

On paper built to win in the postseason, the New York Mets wilted while the Atlanta Braves were rusty and ran into a Philadelphia Phillies buzzsaw.

While so much attention was focused on the battle between the Mets and Braves for supremacy in the National League East at the end of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies were winning the games they need to in order just to qualify for the postseason.

That race for the NL East? The team that didn’t win it (Mets) lost in the Wild Card round. The team that did win it (Braves) lost in their first postseason series as well, with the Phillies taking three of four games in the NLDS to oust them. In the end, the race for the division that included a first-round bye and home field advantage didn’t really matter in the face of a Philadelphia team buoyed by strong pitching and timely hitting.

After watching first-hand what the Phillies did to the NL Central division-winning St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card round, Redbirds pitcher Adam Wainwright issued a warning to the rest of MLB’s postseason field.

That warning is growing louder and louder, just like the crowd at Citizens Bank Park this weekend. Reaching their first NLCS since 2010, the Phillies feel like a team with all the momentum and none of the fear at the moment. That’s a scary thought for whichever California team comes out on the other end of the NL bracket.

Even without some of their big-name acquisitions from the offseason, Kyle Schwarber (1-for-20 this postseason) and Nick Castellanos (5-for-23), clicking yet, Philadelphia has made the plays that mattered against both St. Louis and Atlanta. Since storming back with six runs in the ninth inning in Game 1 of the Wild Card in St. Louis, Philadelphia has looked like the team to beat out of the East.

“I walk through the clubhouse every day, and I get the same feeling that I got before we started to celebrate, and that was — you know, we got a job to do here, and I think everybody’s really focused on getting it done,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said in St. Louis.

dark. Next. Bryce Harper praises Philadelphia's farm system for team's success

With the Mets and Braves watching from the sidelines, Philadelphia is moving on to the NLCS. Maybe we were all watching the wrong powerhouse team in the NL East all season.