2023 MLB playoffs: These Phillies are built for this — no 104-win Braves

Philadelphia – Bryce Harper’s Calculated Risk pulled back. He was ejected to end Game 2 of the Phillies’ NLDS showdown against the Braves, and it looked like everything was going well for baseball’s best regular season team.

What happened after Harper doubled up Monday night highlighted a fundamental difference between these two NL East rivals this October: These Phillies are built for this. Not these brave ones.

Harper, the Phillies and their fans over the next two games knocked the Braves out of the playoffs in the NLDS for the second year in a row, ensuring that an electric double play would be the last piece of baseball at Troost Park until April.

The Braves won 104 games between March 30 and September 30, with just one win in October. Their high-powered offense, considered one of the best in baseball history, scored eight runs in four games. Outside of a turnaround stretch in Game 2, they managed just three runs in 32 innings.

The Phillies have three reliable starters, all of whom have excelled in the series. Rob Thompson made 18 pitching changes in four games, and all of them resulted in scoreless frames. With Nick Castellanos on fire, the Phillies hit nine home runs in their two home wins.

“We fell short and didn’t play well enough to win the series. It’s that simple. We got beat by a really good club that’s interested this time of year,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters after Game 4. .

The Phillies took advantage of everything they could on the field. But the series will be remembered for the goodness the Braves gifted them in their own clubhouse.

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The Braves’ season-ending slump began within minutes of Harper’s ejection in Atlanta. Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia, eight years old MLB The senior taunted Harper within earshot of reporters in the clubhouse. “Atta-Boy, Harper” will be a rallying cry in Philly for years to come.

Giving Bryce Harper extra motivation in a playoff series isn’t a good move, but having fun at your opponent’s expense — especially after a repeat playoff win — is a defensive move. The problem after the quote became public was that Arcia and the Braves failed to own it. They let it linger and gave Harper a chance to make it his moment.

He hailed the opportunity with a swing that the 45,000-plus crowd could feel coming.

Arcia didn’t address AttaBoyGate until Game 3, Two Harbor home runs and two Harbor touchdowns later. Arcia acknowledged that Braves fans and even their radio announcers have said the same thing He questioned Wednesday during Game 3 — and said “he shouldn’t be hearing that.”

The Braves After 3 losses in the eight-run game, they bided their time It aired frustration for telling reporters what it had said a few days earlier. Making himself a staple of the Citizens Bank Park crowd, Arcia finished the series with a .154 average and struck a chord with Phillies fans.

When things finally unraveled for the 2023 Braves, they unraveled in a hurry.

As Nick Castellanos said after Game 2, the Phillies “got punched in the face,” and they rallied behind their star player.

The Phillies outscored the Braves 11-3 in the series, and their six dingers in a Game 3 victory tied a playoff record. The top rail of the home dugout was constantly crowded with players ready to react to the next long ball.

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The Phillies dugout can feel like an extension of the crowd during these playoff games. And vice versa. They’ll leave the guts about playoff format and clubhouse journalism ethics to others; They want to create “Four Hours of Hell” (Although the pitch clock now makes it sound like “three hours and 15 minutes of hell”)

Before the start of this series, Phillies fans engaged in a social media war with Braves mascot Blooper, Philly Phanatic said he was past his prime (the iconic equivalent of “atta-boy, Harper”). In the 4th match on Thursday, The Braves reportedly called on the defense after their bullpen was hit so hard.

“I love this place. Flat out, I love this place,” Harper said after Game 3. “There’s nothing like coming into the bank and playing in front of these fans. Blue-collar mentality, tough, fighting every day. I get chills, man, I’m so burned out.”

The Braves may have the most talented roster in baseball and are only two years removed from winning the World Series. But since then, two promising seasons at the same stadium come to an abrupt end. The Braves are 0-4 in playoff games in South Philly the past two years and have been outscored 30-7 in those four games. They know what to expect this week, but they’re not quite ready for it yet.

Atlanta got a celebration at Citizens Bank Park this year when the team won the NL East on September 13. Twenty-nine days later, bottles of champagne tumbled down the hall where Arcia’s infamous words were displayed.

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The Braves tried to have the last laugh after Game 2 of the five-game series. The Phillies took advantage.

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