Goliath, meet David.
In one corner we have the Astros. The undisputed best team in the league coming into these playoffs. The only team you could even argue was better than them was the Dodgers. But there was a reason why a lot of the betting talk entering the playoffs was Astros or the field. They are a force to be reckoned with, 106 regular season wins, 4 starters with a regular season ERA under 3.0, and five hitters with over 20 home runs. They have swept their way to this World Series. Houston beat the Mariners in 3, and the Yankees in 4. No one has even put a dent in them. The Astros have walked through the playoffs so far. They truly are a Goliath.
But in the other corner, we have the Phillies. The playoff team with the lowest odds to make it here. A team that had to scratch and claw just to make the playoffs. They only made it in because of a new format that allowed for 3 wild card teams in each conference. And even still, they backed into that spot with an ugly September. But something clicked. They won 1 game in Houston to make the playoffs. And they weren’t done there. They kept winning, and now they are in the World Series
They have been underdogs everywhere they have gone. No one had them beating the Cardinals. They did anyway. No one had them beating the Braves. They did that too. And even entering the Padres series, they found themselves on the road and as slight underdogs. But now they are 1 of 2 teams left standing. And they are going to be the underdogs, and on the road again.
But that is what this city is made of. Who had Nick Foles and the Eagles taking down the Patriots dynasty? No one outside of Philly. They did that anyway. The team literally embraced being the underdog and even went so far as to wear dog masks. No city or town loves an underdog the way we do. Rocky Balboa isn’t even real, but he is a Philly icon because his story is exactly what Philly is all about. Philadelphians like to see little guys beat big guys. We sing “No Likes us we don’t care.” Which may not be true, we do care. It is just that we like the fact that no one likes us. Jason Kelce’s iconic speech at the parade was all about how everyone doubted them, and they overcame it anyway.
This is nothing new to this team, or this town. No one is going to pick them to win. But would we want it any other way? This is what this team is made for. What this town is made for. We want people to doubt us, so we can shove it back in their faces when we win anyway. Several years later we still rub it in Michael Lombardi’s face for what he said about Doug Pederson, and Dougie P isn’t even here anymore.
The Astros may look like an unstoppable juggernaut. But titans are made to fall. And this Phillies team is the exact type of team that is built to slay this titan. They slayed the reigning champions in the Braves. Slayed the Padres who had just beaten both the Dodgers and Mets. And now they are sharpening their swords to slay one more titan. And if the Phillies can beat the Astros just once in the first two games in Houston. Well, then Goliath has to come to David’s home. And David doesn’t lose at home. The Phillies have won 5 straight games at Citizen’s Bank Park. And these fans are itching to see 3 more.
This team is made to slay giants. Bryce Harper is playing the best ball of his life. That 2- run go-ahead HR in game 5 will be etched in Phillies lore. “Harper, the swing of his life,” will be replayed a decade from now the same way “Stairs rips one into the night,” is. And no one is going to forget about Rhys Hoskins’ bat spike.
Hoskins, gaffes in the field or not, continues to deliver with dramatic home runs. Zack Wheeler’s stuff has been nearly untouchable. Kyle Schwarber has found his power swing. Bryson Stott has delivered in big moments with timely doubles. Ranger Suarez has battled every time he is on the mound. This team has that special feeling to them. Nearly everyone is doing their part.
The Astros might be a Goliath. But Goliath is about to meet David.