Phillies fans packed out Citizens Bank with Red October rally towels waving overhead. All throughout last season’s playoff run, Phillies fans made sure homefield advantage was felt, with national attention realizing the Phillies may in fact have the biggest homefield advantage in baseball. Throughout the NL Wild Card Series, the fans not only showed up, but blew away expectations. “It’s an SEC stadium in Baseball,” Jeff Passan explained on SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt. You don’t see these sorts of crowds that are up all game long.  That are cheering at the right time. That get in guys heads, or really in their ears.” Phillies fans absolutely brought out their A-Game for this series, and all that has done is reiterated the fact that Atlanta needs to prep themselves for the hostile environment.

The Phillies took care of business against the Miami Marlins, bolstered by unbelievable outings from Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, which brings us to the NLDS against our division rivals, the Atlanta Braves. Nola and Wheeler combined for 13 innings, allowing 1 run, following up on last years brilliant 13 innings of scoreless baseball against the Cardinals in the 2022 Wildcard series. “It’s all too familiar to what happened last year,” Realmuto said. “(Nola and Wheeler) set the tone for our offense and our team as a whole, and then the bullpen came in and shut things down. When those two guys are going well, that’s usually a good sign for the Phillies. That’s the Nola that we ride on, that can carry the team,” Realmuto said. “When he goes out and pounds the strike zone, when we score runs and he goes out there and has quick innings, that just gives us so much confidence and keeps the momentum on our side.” The Phillies now have a major task at hand, tasked to play the Braves, with these clubs being no strangers to each other. Lined up for a best of 5 series, the Phillies will face off against Spencer Strider in Game 1. The Phillies have struggled against Strider this year as he has dominated to the tune of 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA and 27ks in his 3 appearances. However, this is the playoffs, and last time the Phillies faced off against the NL Cy Young candidate things went very different. Phillies got to Strider early, culminating in a 3run homer by Rhys Hoskins and leading to one of the most epic bat spikes in baseball history. Phillies won that game and the series, knocking Atlanta out. Something they plan on doing again this year.

Phillies seem to be lined up to start Ranger Suarez, the Swiss-army knife from last year’s playoff run. Suarez is well rested, and the Phillies will need a huge outing from him. Lined up for Game 2 and 3 would be Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. These Phillies don’t quit, and Atlanta knows it. “This team scares me as much as any team in the game, honestly,” said Brian Snitker, the manager of the Braves. “That firepower and what they’ve got. As we saw right there, if they’ve got a strike left, they’re dangerous. When you come in and play good teams like this, you expect it to not be easy, and it never is.” In a 5 game series, the Phillies will need to take one in Atlanta, hoping to come home with the opportunity to close it out in front of the Philly Phaithful. The Phillies are 8-2 in their last 10 playoff games at The Bank, as well as have the best home record in MLB Playoff History, with a whopping 24-11 record. “We feel like this is what we’re built for, we’re built for the postseason,” Realmuto said. “That run we went on last year, all it did was give us more confidence. Obviously, it’s a really good team in Atlanta but we’re confident in the guys in this clubhouse. It should be a lot of fun.”

 

The offense is hot, the pitching is hotter, and the bullpen looked great these last 2 days. Only one thing left to do…. Win the Series and play our song. Philly…. ITS TIME

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