The Philadelphia Phillies are looking to finish their regular season well in preparation for the postseason. They will finish as one of the three National League wild card clubs for a second consecutive year. Last season, the Phillies qualified as the final playoff club in the NL and lost to the Houston Astros in six games of the 2022 World Series.
Unlike in 2022, nobody will be surprised if the Phillies make another deep playoff run. If Philadelphia loses in their Wild Card series, it will be considered an upset and disappointing to a promising season. Here are three Phillies players who must excel in the wild card series.
The infielder had an up-and-down first year with the Phillies.
Trea Turner‘s first year with Philadelphia has gone somewhat as anticipated. Entering August, his stat line was .242/.296/.378. However, the club fans supported the shortstop, which helped turn around his season.
Philly’s got ya, Trea 👏 pic.twitter.com/KRIO03u8sN
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 4, 2023
Turner had his most productive month to date during August with a stat line of .333/.376/.685. He did well at the start of September but did not record a hit in five straight contests from Sept. 19-23. The infielder recorded hits in his next three games from Sept. 24-28. The Phillies’ chances of success on offense increase significantly, with the shortstop hitting well.
Which Turner will show up for the Phillies in the wild card series? Philadelphia’s odds at advancing to the Divisional Round of the postseason increase if he gets on base or drives in runs. His reputation as an impactful playmaker and previous championship-winning experience in 2019 with the Washington Nationals is what influenced the decision of the organization’s front office to sign him to an 11-year, $300 million deal last offseason.
The starting pitcher’s postseason play will influence his next contract.
The free agent to be has had an inconsistent year with a 12-9 record and a 4.46 earned run average in 32 starts for the Phillies. Aaron Nola‘s earned run average is a cause for concern as it has fluctuated throughout his career. Last year in the postseason, he went 2-2 with a 4.91 earned run average in five starts.
Starting pitching remains an in-demand position in the league. Nola will receive offers from clubs in the offseason that need a boost to their starting rotations. The 30-year-old starter can help his cause for a big payday with successful outings for the Phillies in the playoffs. His value will also receive a boost if the organization wins the World Series, especially if he plays an integral part in Philadelphia clinching a championship.
His chance to prove his worth when it matters the most in the Major League Baseball season begins in Game 2 of the Phillies National League Wild Card series. Philadelphia will be entering a series clincher or aiming to avoid elimination in Nola’s upcoming start in the postseason.
The outfielder will aim to recapture his success in the Wild Card series from the first half of 2023.
Nick Castellanos has had a better season in his second year with the Phillies. The 31-year-old did well through the first three months of the season. Entering July 1, he had a stat line of .309/.353/.489 for the year before he dealt with his share of struggles at the plate. He had a stat line of .162/.194/.303 during July, which was uncharacteristic of the outfielder based on the year he had at that point in 2023.
Castellanos had a much more productive month in August with a .293/.308./.552 and eight home runs. His home run total during August is his most of the year entering the October 1 contest versus the New York Mets. Phillies manager Rob Thomson lowered the outfielder in the batting order during September, which resulted in some success for him.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) September 24, 2023
During the postseason, it is possible that Thomson will put Castellanos back in the middle of the order. The struggles of Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott during September may influence the manager’s decision-making on the lineup. Look for the outfielder to hit between fourth and sixth in Game 1 of the Wild Card series.
Turner, Nola, and Castellanos each have a significant role with the Phillies. Their play can influence whether the organization wins or loses a game. While it will take a total team effort from the roster to win a championship, the performances of these three players for Philadelphia could determine if the organization will win or lose their upcoming Wild Card series.
Main Photo Credits: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports