Harper, Machado tangle in wild-card NLCS between Phils, Pads

SAN DIEGO — – Either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado shall be enjoying in the World Series this 12 months.

Harper’s Philadelphia Phillies will face Machado’s San Diego Padres in an all-wild card NL Championship Series beginning Tuesday night time at Petco Park. It’s no longer precisely the matchup maximum fanatics would have predicted, however neither slugger is ready to make an apology about their groups making exciting October runs as the 2 lowest seeds.

“I think, honestly, we’ve got the two best teams going up against each other, and it’s going to be a fun week for sure,” stated Machado, who had an MVP-caliber season as he carried the Padres in the absence of megastar shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.

The 89-win Padres, who’ve benefited from veteran supervisor Bob Melvin’s calm taste all the way through his first 12 months as their skipper, went to New York and beat the 101-win Mets in the wild-card spherical. Then they eradicated the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball’s easiest crew with a franchise-record 111 wins, by way of profitable 3 immediately video games after shedding the opener at the street.

The 87-win Phillies are the No. 6 seed. They downed the NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card spherical after which beat the protecting World Series champion Atlanta Braves, who took the NL East name with 101 wins, in the department sequence.

That despatched the Phillies and their sizzling bats to San Diego, which was once again to being sunny and 72 levels for Monday’s exercise after an extraordinary October rainstorm sopping wet the ballpark all the way through the electrical Game 4 clincher towards the Dodgers on Saturday night time.

“People kind of counted us both out, right?” stated Harper, who overlooked two months after breaking his left thumb when he was once hit by way of a pitch by way of San Diego’s Blake Snell at Petco Park on June 25. “I think it was L.A. or the Braves or the Mets are going to win because those three teams are so dynamic and they had such great regular seasons, as they always do.”

“I think it is going to be a great series,” Harper added. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. I know we’re looking forward to it as a team and the opportunity to come in here and win a game hopefully and get home.”

Right-hander Zack Wheeler is predicted to begin for the Phillies in Game 1, and 36-year-old Yu Darvish takes the mound for the Padres. Darvish would have long gone on 3 days’ relaxation if the Padres have been pressured to play Game 5 of the NLDS at Dodger Stadium on Sunday night time. But they completed the Dodgers with a five-run 7th inning in a 5-3 victory in Game 4.

Most of the focal point shall be on Harper and Machado. They had been teammates at the 2009 under-18 U.S. nationwide crew that received the Pan-Am championship. Harper was once the highest total pick out in the 2010 beginner draft by way of Washington whilst Machado was once the 3rd pick out by way of Baltimore.

They made their large league debuts 3 months aside in 2012, Harper as a 19-year-old and Machado in a while after turning 20. Seven years later they signed large offers as the highest loose brokers going into the 2019 season; Machado were given a $300 million, 10-year contract with San Diego, and Harper went to Philadelphia for $330 million and 13 years.

“We were two of the top free agents,” Machado stated. “And he went to a city that wanted to bring a championship back, and I went to a city that’s never won a championship. Here we are a couple years later, we’ve done that, two organizations, and we’ve helped the organizations out big time.

“It’s going to be a laugh. He brings an power. He’s some of the easiest avid gamers in the sport.”

Harper stated Machado “is a smart ability. He’s some of the easiest defenders in the sport. He can swing the bat really well. He’s having a really perfect 12 months this 12 months. I’m excited so that you could proportion the sector with him.”

The Padres are in the NLCS for the primary time since 1998, proper ahead of they had been swept by way of the New York Yankees in the World Series.

The Phillies are in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they capped a five-year run that included a World Series championship in 2008 and then losses in the World Series in 2009 and the NLCS in 2010.

Philadelphia, which outscored Atlanta 17-4 at home in the final two games of the NLDS, has had some memorable moments this postseason.

Harper has hit 3 playoff homers, together with two whilst going 8 for 16 in 4 video games towards the Braves. Rhys Hoskins had an epic bat spike on a monster homer towards the Braves, and J.T. Realmuto become the primary catcher in postseason historical past to hit an inside-the-park house run.

Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber won the NL home run title with 46. Rob Thompson took over as manager on June 3 after Joe Girardi was fired and led the Phillies to the playoffs. He was rewarded with a two-year contract.

Harper, meanwhile, played for some San Diego travel ball teams years ago and knows a bit about the city.

“I be expecting this position to be lovely rowdy day after today night time,” Harper said. “They’re a town that loves their baseball.”


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