For the first time in the Phillies’ 141-year history, the team will play a Game 7 on Tuesday night, a winner-take-all affair with the Diamondbacks for the National League pennant. The Philadelphians are clearly unfamiliar with a baseball Game 7, and that inexperience is reflected in the Fightins themselves.
Only two players on the Phillies’ NLCS roster have appeared in a Game 7: Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber, with both appearances coming in Game 7 of the World Series. Turner appeared for the Nationals in Game 7 of 2019 against the Dodgers. Although Turner went hitless in four at-bats (he also drew a walk), Washington prevailed for the franchise’s first championship.
Schwarber, who posted a .928 OPS with 20 home runs in 64 postseason games, has the grip gene the Phillies need to reach the World Series for the second straight year. Schwarber showed this in the seventh game of the World Series with the Cubs against Cleveland. Schwarber hit three for five in Chicago’s 10-inning victory, securing the team’s first title in 108 years.
• In the first inning of that game, Schwarber, then in his age-23 season, hit an infield single and stole second base.
• Schwarber hit a single to right field in the third inning, but foolishly tried to turn it into a double and was thrown out in the second inning. I’m confident Phillies first base coach Paco Figureoa won’t make that mistake on Tuesday.
• Leading off in the top of the 10th, Schwarber hit another single to right field. Chicago then used a pinch runner for Schwarber, Albert Amora. Amora would score 7-6 in the Cubs’ 8-7 win. Gigantic.
This great performance gave Schwarber his first, but perhaps not last, championship parade.
The Phillies will need this version of Schwarber if they want to return to the Fall Classic. I’m optimistic they will do that.
I’m just saying… Schwarber is +850 to hit a home run in his first plate appearance in Game 7.
MORE: Watch wild Phillies fans wait for a win in Game 7
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