Monday, March 20, 2023

Phillies to host first playoff game since 2011, but Braves manager downplays ‘so-called hostile environment’

Friday afternoon, postseason baseball will return to Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park for the first time since 2011. The Phillies will host Games 3 and 4 of their NLDS matchup with the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, and Game 4 is indeed necessary. Kyle Wright & Co. knotted the series up at a game apiece Wednesday.

As always, the Philly fans will be raucous — these are the fans that notoriously booed Santa Claus, after all — and Braves skipper Brian Snitker may have given the Phillies faithful a little bulletin board material following ahead of Game 3. Here’s what Snitker said about preparing to play in Philadelphia this coming weekend:

I’ve been in Philly when it’s crazy. When I was a third base coach, every game we played there was nuts.

These guys are used to it. It’s going to be I guess the so-called hostile environment, obviously. But they’re used to, the last two nights, the last — this whole year has been nuts here. It’s been like playoff baseball pretty much the entire year here.

And I don’t think it’s anything that they haven’t been exposed to and probably they’ll feed off it like they feed off our fans here in Atlanta.

Personally, I don’t think Snitker meant anything with the “so-called hostile environment” quip. It’s just a turn of phrase. But it doesn’t matter what I think or Snitker intended. Call Philadelphia a “so-called hostile environment” and you’re inviting Phillies fans to show you what a hostile environment really is. The fans will take this is a challenge.

Not only will Game 3 be the Phillies’ first home postseason game since 2011, it’ll be their first home game period since Sept. 25. They closed out the regular season with a three-city road trip (Chicago, Washington, Houston), then went to St. Louis for the Wild Card Series, and then went to Atlanta for the first two games of the NLDS. It’s been almost three weeks since the last time the Phillies slept in their own beds.

The Phillies snapped the longest postseason drought in the National League this year. To be specific, their last home postseason game was Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, when then-Cardinals righty Chris Carpenter outdueled the late Hall of Famer Roy Halladay in a 1-0 win en route to St. Louis’ World Series championship on Oct. 7, 2011.

Righty Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) will get the ball in Game 3 for the Phillies. The Braves have not yet announced their starter, though Snitker indicated Spencer Strider (11-5, 2.67 ERA) will pitch in some capacity.

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