The final installment of Phillies-Braves 2023 was a little closer than previous iterations, but it was also more of the same, as the Phillies slugged their way to victory and a second straight trip to the National League Championship Series.
No. 1 Atlanta Braves at No. 4 Philadelphia Phillies, Game 4: Phillies 3, Braves 1 (Philadelphia wins 3-1)
The Phillies made life uncomfortable for Atlanta ace Spencer Strider from the jump, with two baserunners in each of the first three innings. In the middle innings, Nick Castellanos hit two singles sandwiched around one off Trea Turner, and that was all the Phillies needed.
Over the final innings, the Phillies smothered the vaunted Braves offense, and with the crowd louder than ever at Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia punched its ticket to the next round.
Atlanta’s only run of the night came on a solo homer by Austin Riley that put the Braves up 1-0 in the top of the fourth, but they lost the lead in the bottom half of the inning and never regained it.
Arguably the Braves’ best chance to take control of the game came in the top of the seventh, when Craig Kimbrel grounded on a three-run, two-out walk in a bases-loaded jam. But this web gem from Philly midfielder Johan Rojas put a quick end to that.
On the plus side, this was Castellanos’ second homer of the night, making him the first player in MLB history to play consecutive postseason games. After striking out two of the Phillies’ six batters on Wednesday in Game 3, Castellanos hit the Phillies’ first and third runs for the homers in Game 4, making the difference in the victory.
On the downside, perhaps the defining moment was Bryce Harper’s possible elbow injury in the top of the eighth. As Harper caught the ball and Matt Olson ran toward first base, Olson’s knee appeared to collide with Harper’s surgically repaired right elbow, and the Phillies star immediately jumped away and winced in obvious pain.
After the final play was made, Harper briefly went to be signed out in the clubhouse, but returned to the dugout and then to first base for the ninth inning. Afterwards, he said it was just a funny bone, but the situation would likely be worth monitoring in the coming days.
Castellanos. He said enough.
After the game:
Thursday marked the final chapter in some unusually dramatic drama involving Harper, Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia and the national baseball media. As you may recall, Arcia mocked Harper in front of reporters after the game-ending foul in Game 2, where he reportedly said, “Haha, atta boy, Harper!” Repeatedly.
This clearly got back to Harper, who was staring at Arcia as he rounded the bases on both homers in the Phillies’ upset win in Game 3. The Braves later objected to reporters who reported what happened in front of them, with Travis d’Arnaud berating the media and Arcia saying who Through a translator: “He wasn’t supposed to heat it.”
In the end, those complaints from the Braves gave the Phillies more fodder with which to mock them after their season ended. In the form of a T-shirt.
Phillies players too It said He sprayed Harper with beer while shouting “Atta, Harper boy!”
The Phillies are moving forward. They will face the Arizona Diamondbacks in NLCS Game 1, which begins at 8:07 PM ET on Monday.
The Braves finished the year having won 104 regular season games.
“Coffee ninja. Web fan. Hipster-friendly beer enthusiast. Professional creator.”