Another game where the Phillies do so many good things that there are more heroes than I am allowed to pass around based on the rules set at the start of this endeavor by the committee of one – me.

And while, yes, I can break my own rules if I want – I mean, who’s going to stop me? I won’t. I’ve challenged myself. Don’t make the work too easy. Give the readers reason why, although they did awesome things in Game 3, guys like Brandon Marsh, Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins and the Phillies bullpen are landing on the honorable mention list.

That’s because these five heroes have made the greatest impact in the Phillies now being just two wins away from their third world championship, something I never thought I’d write, and certainly not in 2022.

So, Let’s hit it….



I was talking to a very knowledgeable, amateur baseball historian after the game. He’s a guy who, prior to 2021, felt like there was something missing with Harper. Immensely talented, but not a great leader in the historian’s mind, he always felt that there was another level Harper could get to but just wasn’t willing to go there until last season. When winning MVP for single-handedly trying to will the Phillies to the playoffs despite a depleted and hobbled roster in August and September, it was clear that Harper found that inner strength to take that next step. But this postseason, he has elevated his production to levels never before seen.

“What he’s doing is Ruthian,” the historian said. “What we are seeing has never been done and may never be matched again. He’s that good right now.”

Quite a turn for a guy who was so bullish on Harper being overrated for so many years.

But, he’s not wrong. The numbers are staggering.

Among players who have played at least seven playoff games and reached the World Series (LCS era) Players ranked by OPS are the following:

  1. Barry Bonds (2002, SFG) 1.559
  2. Ricky Henderson (1989, OAK) 1.509
  3. Johnny Bench (1976, CIN) 1.390
  4. Willie Stargell (1979, PIT) 1.362
  5. Willie Aikens (1980, KCR) 1.325
  6. Reggie Jackson (1978, NYY) 1.317
  7. Alex Rodriguez (2009, NYY) 1.308
  8. Albert Pujols (2004, STL) 1.286
  9. David Ortiz (2004, BOS) 1.278
  10. Randy Arozorena (2020, TBR) 1.273
  11. David Freese (2011, STL) 1.258
  12. Bryce Harper (2022, PHI) 1.232

  • The bolded names had their teams win the World Series. Harper hopes to be No. 8 on that list.
  • The italicized names are in the Hall of Fame, Harper will likely  be seventh on that list after Pujols gets enshrined.
  • If you make the list a minimum of 10 games played, the list shrinks to nine as Henderson, Bench and Aikens would drop off the list.
  • If the list required a 20 hit minimum it would be just Arozorena, Freese, Pujols, Ortiz and Harper.
  • If the list required minimums of 20 hits and six doubles, it would be just Freese and Harper.
  • If the list required minimums of 20 hits, six doubles and six home runs – there’s only one name. Bryce Harper.

Going back to the original criteria of seven games minimum and reaching the World Series, Harper currently ranks 12th in OPS, is tied for 13th in total hits (21), tied for fourth in doubles (6), tied for 11th in homers (6), seventh in slugging (.818), 12th in batting average (.382), and ninth total bases (45).

Doesn’t seem Ruthian, right? But here’s the thing. He’s done it in 59 plate appearances, which ranks 75th on that list.

Sure, he has at least two more games to go, so that total will climb, but so too could everything else. The point is, he’s putting up similar numbers to 11 iconic playoff performances in baseball history, and doing so in fewer plate appearances.

All while being the emotional leader of the team. And all while being the home run whisperer too.


His teammates call him Mr. Suave. He might be the coolest cat on the mound in all of baseball. He doesn’t let anything get to him. He’s appeared in five games for the Phillies this postseason. The Phillies are 5-0 in those games. He’s 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP. He’s allowed just nine hits in those five appearances. Of the nine hits, three were infield singles, four clean singles, a double to Ronald Acuna and a solo homer to Travis D’Arnaud. That’s it.

He sliced and diced the Astros lineup, pitching to weak contact, with three 1-2-3 innings, including a nine-pitch first inning. If this Series makes it back to Houston, you might see Ranger again. And if he gets another opportunity, and the Phillies win this thing, he could be the second left-handed starter in franchise history to win World Series MVP. Then again… with the way the bats are going….


He won’t tell anyone what Harper said to him. He won’t say if it help him with his big home run off Lance McCullers, frankly, he’s not saying much these days, just letting his play speak for itself. Clutch hits at big times. So much better defensively than earlier in the season. Just a flat out solid performer all the way through, and a huge reason the Phillies are where they are.


It’s becoming a regular thing all of the sudden:

Acknowledging the fans first after the catch, is perfect too. He knows they had their reasons to be frustrated with him at times this season, but they’ve stuck with him and appreciate that he’s out there ballin’ each night.

In fact, earlier today, Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated published a really cool article about him and his suddenly brilliant defense in right field this postseason. I highly recommend it.

Better still, the 10-year-old kid who dropped Brandon Marsh’s home run ball in Game 3? The very next inning, Castellanos went out to right field, and made sure he the same kid a ball.

Who had Castellanos endearing himself to fans this postseason on their Bingo card?


She “rained supreme” (play on words intended) on Monday to help the Phillies get their pitching situation in a much better order for the remainder of the World Series, and then gave us a beautiful night Tuesday and expected to be equally beautiful tonight and tomorrow.

It was almost like, she senses the universe giving these Phillies their mojo and making everything come together to tell a sports story for the ages.

She’s definitely a Phillies fan.



Maybe there’s a reason Dusty Baker has never won a World Series. Why the hell would he leave Lance McCullers in the game after the second inning? It was obvious the Phillies were on to him and his game-plan.

Baker seemed to be conceding the game at 4-0. With a team as gifted as the Astros, why would you do that? I get you want to preserve your bullpen for other games and sometimes you have to let your starter take a beating. But, not down four with seven innings to go. It’s as if the Phillies are doing the ol’ Jedi Mind trick and making every manager they face make brutally bad decisions.


Dude. ONE fastball to lefties in your last two games? A steady diet of them to righties? No curve balls to righties? What the hell kind of gameplan is that? You’re cool with that? You and Martin Maldonado are in pre-game meetings and this is what you come up with? Please tell me you’re at least faking the pre-game meeting and going out and about town getting in trouble with your Jon Snow looks and Maldonado as your running mate. You can be like, channeling your inner Fluffy:


Dude was just swinging at everything early and often. Like he didn’t want to be here. Of course the relentless booing and screaming “Cheater” was tough for him to deal with. Awww. Poor guy. Maybe ya’ll should have tried to win on the up and up five years ago, eh?


Wouldn’t you like to have a DH like the Phillies, eh? Seriously, their DH’s have been brutal. Trey Mancini and Aledmys Diaz have one hit combined in the playoffs. The Astros trotted out a rookie named David Hensley in Game 3 in what could have been seen as a small bit of desperation. He got a clean single in his first at bat, but then looked bad striking out in each of the next two swings before getting lifted for Mancini, who made another out. Frankly, maybe they should just let the pitcher hit at this point.


Buddy shouldn’t attend either Game 4 or Game 5. He may not make it back to Houston alive after this.

And this:

Apparently, the Phillies fans were calling Altuve a cheater and said he’ll never make the Hall of Fame, which set Mack off.

So, he’s preparing for Game 4 like this:

And Philadelphia is just like:


Not much more than a simple list. I promise.




  1. Zack Wheeler – 6 1/3 shutout innings in his first postseason start.
  2. Jean Segura – Game-winning hit in wild ninth inning comeback.
  3. Juan Yepez – Pinch hit homer that should have won the game for the Cardinals.
  4. Jose Quintana – 5 1/3 shutout innings and should have had more were it not for poor management.
  5. Alec Bohm – Took a fastball to the shoulder in the ninth, stood right up and fired up the bench, keeping momentum going.



  1. Oliver Marmol – You can’t fuck up managing your pitching and bullpen more than the youngest manager in baseball did here.
  2. Andre Pallante – Shriveled under the pressure of pitching in high leverage situation in the playoffs.
  3. Jose Alvarado – As good as he’s been, gave up Yepez’s homer and nearly cost the Phillies the game.
  4. Ryan Helsley – Going more than one inning in the playoffs is a whole different animal, even if you can throw 105 MPH gas.
  5. St. Louis Fans – “Supposedly” the best in the sport, Baseball Heaven took the express cloud out of Busch before the game was over.




  1. Aaron Nola – 6 2/3 innings of beautifully pitched baseball, continuing to bury the naysayers.
  2. Seranthony Dominguez – Two huge strikeouts (Goldschmidt, Arenado) with two men on in the bottom of the eighth.
  3. Bryce Harper – The home run that set the table early was all Nola and his bullpen friends needed.
  4. Zach Eflin – Earning just his second career save (first in the playoffs) to send the Phillies to the NLDS.
  5. Albert Pujols – Two hits, including his last at bat, in the final game of a Hall of Fame career.



  1. Paul Goldschmidt – The probable NL MVP did nothing in these two games and came up small in a big spot in the eighth.
  2. Nolan Arenado – The probable runner-up to NL MVP and the rest of the note is the same as Goldschmidt.
  3. Tommy Edman – Had a chance to keep a ninth inning rally going, instead sent his team home for the winter with a lame popup.
  4. Brendan Donovan – 0-for-4 and 0-for-the series for the next guy the Cardinals were counting on after their two studs.
  5. Nick Castellanos – 0-for-4 and really looked lost at the plate again for the Phillies.





  1. Nick Castellanos – Atoned for his last game with three hits, three RBI and a potential game-saving diving catch in the ninth inning.
  2. Matt Olson – Got the Braves back into the game with the big homer in the ninth.
  3. Ronald Acuna Jr. – Three hits and wreaked havoc on base for Phillies pitchers the whole game.
  4. Alec Bohm – An RBI hit and a sac fly – and the Phillies needed both of them to win.
  5. Bryce Harper – Ho hum, just a three-hit game.



  1. Max Fried – Supposed to be the ace for the Braves, got shelled.
  2. William Contreras – Double play with the bases load in the bottom of the first left his team with a zero on the scoreboard.
  3. Connor Brogdon – lacked confidence and nearly cost the Phillies, giving up a pair of runs in the fifth.
  4. Austin Riley – Struck out three times and popped out – you expect more from the No. 3 hitter.
  5. Michael Harris – Probable NL Rookie of the Year – also took the collar.




  1. Kyle Wright – Pitched a masterful game for Atlanta. The best by any starter in the playoffs against the Phillies thus far.
  2. Matt Olson
  3. Austin Riley
  4. Travis d’Arnaud – These three guys all got hits off of Wheeler in a row to score the three runs for the Braves. Key hits all.
  5. A.J. Minter – Had the shutdown inning the Braves needed after they scored the three runs.



  1. Kyle Schwarber – Struck out three times and wasn’t heard from the entire game.
  2. Rhys Hoskins – Also 0-for-4. At least he didn’t strike out.
  3. Zack Wheeler – Was pitching brilliantly until two out in the sixth. He hit Acuna and walked Swanson then gave up those three hits.
  4. Alec Bohm – Empty day at the plate for him too.
  5. Bryson Stott – Has been so clutch for the Phillies – just not this game.




  1. Rhys Hoskins – The bat slam alone makes him No. 1.
  2. Aaron Nola – Another big game gem.
  3. Bryson Stott – Without his nine-pitch at bat and eventual RBI double to score the first run, Hoskins’ homer never happens.
  4. Phillies Fans – Could seriously be listed for every home game, but they got to Spencer Strider, and Marcel Ozuna, and Acuna…
  5. Rob Thomson – Despite questions about juggling his lineup, Philly Rob stuck to his guns, and his offense delivered.



  1. Brian Snitker – Did you really think that saying Philly was “not too hostile” an environment was smart?
  2. Spencer Strider – Crumbled under the pressure of Philly’s hostility.
  3. Marcel Ozuna – The “DUI” chants resulted in three strikeouts.
  4. Austin Riley – From MVP contender to almost invisible in the playoffs.
  5. Braves Bullpen – Couldn’t keep the score in the respectable range.





  1. Zack Wheeler – allowed just one hit and one walk over seven scoreless innings, striking out eight.
  2. Kyle Schwarber – with the longest home run ever hit in PETCO PARK (488 feet).
  3. Bryce Harper – a solo homer early to give the Phillies a lead they would never relinquish.
  4. Seranthony Dominguez
  5. Jose Alvarado – The two back end of the bullpen guys had two hitless innings to close out the game, with three Ks.



  1. Padres offense – One hit. One measly hit.
  2. Yu Darvish – Honestly he pitched well, but if you are going to win a showdown with Wheeler, you can’t make mistakes. Darvish made two, and that’s two too many.
  3. Manny Machado – O-fer. Sittin’ on that hefty salary, eh?
  4. Juan Soto – Wasn’t he supposed to be the kind of generational talent to make a difference in close games? 0-for-3 with 2 Ks.
  5. Josh Bell – Guy used to be a Phillie-killer. No more. 0-for-4 with 2 Ks.




  1. Brandon Drury – Dude just gives off Cody Ross vibes. And when he hits a big homer like this, it’s even worse.
  2. Juan Soto – That double was pure talent. It was a good pitch by Nola. To recognize it and get your hands through in time is special.
  3. Josh Bell – OK, maybe he still is a Phillie-killer.
  4. Austin Nola – Got the hit to knock his brother completely off his game.
  5. Rhys Hoskins – Hitting the homer late was window dressing, but proved that Suarez was susceptible to big hits. Hmmm.



  1. Brad Hand – He could have kept the score tied with any efficiency. He had none, and the lead got too far away from the Phillies for a comeback.
  2. Aaron Nola – The pitching line looks worse than the actual performance was, but you can’t blow a 4-0 lead in the playoffs. Just can’t.
  3. David Robertson – Giving up another run late really didn’t help.
  4. Bryce Harper – Hoskins homers to cut it to three then Realmuto singles. With no outs, you ground into a double play. Needed that rally.
  5. Blake Snell – Lucky your team came back to win, because getting behind 4-0 in the first inning isn’t the way to start a must-win playoff game.




  1. Jean Segura – Such a roller coaster game for the Phils’ 2B, but he came through both offensively and defensively when it mattered most. Definitely the player of the game.
  2. Alec Bohm – His double in the bottom of the sixth to give the Phillies an insurance run was huge.
  3. Kyle Schwarber – Leading off the game with a homer set the temp for what the next three games in Philly would be like.
  4. Seranthony Dominguez – The first six-out save by a Phillies reliever in a playoff game in 42 years (to the day). Stellar performance.
  5. Ranger Suarez – Under the radar performance. He allowed just two infield singles (one trickled onto the outfield grass), in five innings of work.



  1. Joe Musgrove – He pitched a one-hitter in an elimination game in New York. But this isn’t Citi Field, friend/
  2. Manny Machado – Was invisible again, and was hearing it from the fans after choosing San Diego over Philly in 2019
  3. Austin Nola – Was the tying run at the plate in the ninth, and whiffed. This was just a precursor, though.
  4. Josh Bell  – Runners on first and second with one out. Bell called on to pinch hit against a pitcher he’s had great success against, and grounded into a double play.
  5. Juan Soto – Somehow he’s a gold glove finalist in RF. Must have left the gold one on the plane and replaced it with his cement one.



You can read heroes and goats from this game in more detail here.


You can read heroes and goats from this game in more detail here.




Heroes and Goats from Game 1 are here.


Heroes and Goats from Game 2 are here.