Brandon Marsh came to Philadelphia at the trade deadline as a defensive upgrade in center field, yet it wasn't his glove that made a difference on Saturday, but rather his bat. 

Marsh crushed a Charlie Morton curveball in the second inning into the seats in right-center field, giving the Phillies an early 3-0 lead and sending a sellout crowd of 45,660 at Citizens Bank Park into a frenzy.

The homer set the tone for the Phils en route to an 8-3 victory over the Braves and punched the Phillies' ticket to the NL Championship Series. 

"That was a special moment," Marsh said. "I don't think I've ever had a moment like that ever in my career. I'm going to cherish that one. But that was a good feeling, looking up at all the crowd. That was fun."

Noah Syndergaard, who hadn't made a start since Oct. 1, was tasked with taking the mound for the Phils in Game 4. Phillies manager Rob Thomson had no interest in Syndergaard going deep into the game but instead wanted him to throw three or four solid innings allowing for a rested bullpen to cover the final 15 or so outs. 

Syndergaard delivered on that plan, tossing three solid innings, his lone blemish coming on a solo homer by Orlando Arcia in the third inning. 

"As we planned it, we thought if we can get through once through the lineup, maybe a little bit more, we would be good. And he was fantastic," Thompson said. "He gave up a solo home run, but we gave up three solo home runs today but we had no walks. And that was the key. We gave no free passes. But I thought he was outstanding. A lot of soft contact, other than Arcia's home run, a lot of soft contact. He pounded the strike zone. I thought he was good and gave us what we needed."

The bullpen combined to toss six innings while surrendering two runs, both of which came via solo homers. The 'pen whiffed 12 and didn't issue a walk. Zach Eflin led the charge with 1 1/3 innings with three strikeouts on 19 pitches. The biggest applause, however, was given to Jose Alvarado who surrendered a homer, but otherwise dominated over 1 2/3 innings. He waved to the crowd as he walked off the field, throwing both his hands in the air.

"This town is hungry for this," Alvarado said. "All the love and support, it really is noticed. We feel the same way about the fans."

J.T. Realmuto hit a ball in the fourth inning that caromed off the slanted portion of the wall in center field and rolled away from Michael Harris, allowing for an inside-the-park homer. It was the first inside-the-park homer in franchise history and only the 18th in Major League Baseball postseason history. Realmuto added another RBI in the sixth with an infield single. 

Rhys Hoskins contributed with a pair of singles and drove in a run in the sixth. After having begun the postseason riding a 1-for-18 skid he's now 3-for-8 over the last two games with four RBIs.

What's Next
The Phillies will play the winner of the other NL Division Series between the Dodgers and the Padres. San Diego holds a 2-1 series lead with Game 4 scheduled for Saturday night. Whatever the outcome, the Phillies will open the NL Championship Series on the road somewhere in California on Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Fans
Kyle Schwarber is a veteran and he's played in front of some rowdy crowds, including those during his World Series run with the Chicago Cubs. Turns out, Philadelphia fans may really be the best.

"The energy, this is the best I've ever been involved with," said Schwarber. "This place was wild, and these fans are incredible. No disrespect to anywhere I've been, but this is the greatest fanbase I've been in front of."
13 stars

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post
Philadelphia Baseball Review - Phillies News, Rumors and Analysis