Philadelphia Phillies vs San Diego Padres Game 2 of the NLCS: reactions and takeaways
In a playoff series of historic firsts, the Nola brothers faced off in a game that saw the Padres level the playing field in the NLCS
Growing up in Baton Rouge, Aaron and his big brother Austin both stood out at Catholic High School, then later at LSU, before heading off to the big leagues. Austin wound up catching for the San Diego Padres while Aaron became a starting pitcher in the Philadelphia Phillies rotation.
They have, of course, faced each other on the field many times throughout their lives. But given the two teams that they played for, there seemed to be little danger of them meeting in the post season. In a year of improbability, the most unlikely NLCS pairing has come to pass.
When Aaron faced Austin in the second inning, it was the first time that siblings had faced each other as pitcher and batter in the post season in major league history. Aaron won that battle. When they faced each other again in the fifth, the tables had turned.
You see, back in the second inning, the Phillies had a barnstormer, scoring four runs on a series of singles and a walk. Small ball played perfectly. There was a stroke of luck involved when Juan Soto lost a routine fly ball in the sun, but you take what you can get. In the bottom half of the inning they surrendered two runs on back-to-back solo home runs when Brandon Drury and Josh Bell each got ahold of one.
And there the game sat, score unchanging through three, four, and into five, when the Nola brothers got another chance to face off. With a Kim Ha-seong at first and Austin down 0-2 in the count, the hit and run was called. Kim took off and Austin kept up his end of the bargain, slapping one into right field. Ha-seong was fast enough to score on the play to bring the score to 4-3, but as it turned out, the fifth inning was a wild one for San Diego.
Aaron would concede seven hits and six runs before he was removed from the game, as the Padres ended the fifth in the lead 7-4, running through Brad Hand, Andrew Bellatti, and Connor Brogdon in the process.
While both teams wold eke out another run apiece, the game would end at 8-5, with the Padres levelling the NLCS series at a game apiece.
With both teams needing another three wins to guarantee their ticket to the World Series, there is still plenty of time for the Nola brothers to work out who will eventually win the brother-vs-brother struggle. So far, they are even-stevens, and this historic NLCS just keeps getting better.