The National League Championship Series is set, the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Diego Padres will battle for the right to represent the National League in the World Series.
The two wild card teams, the Phillies and the Padres will get to play for the NL pennant. These two teams may not have played perfect baseball this season.
The Phillies had to fire manager Joe Girardi in June; Padres manager Bob Melvin had to air out his underachieving club in September. They both have the star power and momentum that should make for an entertaining battle.
The two brightest stars are, the Phillies Bryce Harper and the Padres Manny Machado. They were the top prizes of the free-agent market after the 2018 season. Philadelphia lured Harper with a 13-year, $330 million contract. San Diego signed Machado to a 10-year, $300 million deal.
They both have lived up to the hype and the scrutiny. Harper has been the face and leader of the phillies. He won the National League MVP in 2021 and was on his way to an even better year, until he was sidelined with a broken thumb. Machado has done a lot of the same for the Padres, and he will get MVP consideration this season.
Neither Phillies owner John Middleton nor Padres owner Peter Seidler stopped spending after doling out those mega-contracts. The Phillies have signed big deals to pitcher Zack Wheeler, catcher J.T. Realmuto, outfielder Kyle Schwarber and outfielder Nick Castellanos. The Padres kept moving their top prospects to make trades for pitcher Yu Darvish, pitcher Joe Musgrove, pitcher Blake Snell, outfielder Juan Soto and closer Josh Hader.
They should be a entertaining series. A lot of star power and rabid fan bases.
Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper. Photo courtsey of The Athletic MLB Staff