This might be the best home-field advantage MLB has ever seen

'Man, I love this place!': Phils revel in frenzied home crowd

October 12th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- You’d be forgiven for briefly mistaking that Game 3 of the National League Division Series was taking place in suburban Atlanta rather than South Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

That’s because the sold-out crowd of 45,798 fans began imitating the Tomahawk Chop from the fifth inning on, reveling in the Phillies’ lopsided 10-2 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies’ faithful were in top form from the onset, reserving their loudest boos for Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia during player introductions. They showered first baseman Bryce Harper with MVP chants each time he stepped to the plate. They doted on right-hander Aaron Nola with a standing ovation as he left the field with two outs in the sixth.

“I just want to soak it in as much as possible,” Nola said. “Fans were awesome tonight, as usual. And coming off the mound earlier, felt like they turned up the notch a little bit, which was pretty awesome, pretty special. So I wanted to tip my cap and thank them. That's why they're the best, man. From pitch one to the end of the game, they were standing up. It was fun. It was an amazing atmosphere.”

Added Braves third baseman Austin Riley: “It's impressive. It really is. They're loud. They're in every moment, kind of like our fans. They love some Philly baseball.”

It’s never easy to play on the road during the postseason, but it’s a whole other beast when facing the 10th jawn -- as one fan’s poster described with eastern Pennsylvania vernacular.

Home-field advantage is a real thing for the Phillies. Philadelphia's .694 postseason win percentage (25-11) at Citizens Bank Park (which made its playoff debut in 2007) is the best all-time for any team in any park (minimum 20 games). The club has led at the end of 191 of 324 home playoff innings. In six postseason runs at CBP, the Phils have lost no more than two home games in five of them. In those five playoff appearances that didn’t culminate in a World Series championship, they were eliminated by a club that would either reach the Fall Classic or win it all.

Over the past two Red Octobers, Phillies fans have had even more reason to celebrate. In 2022, Philadelphia became one of eight teams to win at least its first six home games in a postseason before dropping Games 4 and 5 of the World Series to the Astros.

The Phillies are on that same trajectory, having taken both NL Wild Card Series games from the Marlins and Wednesday’s NLDS Game 3 against the Braves. They have outscored their opponent by 17 runs (21-4) in just three home contests this postseason.

“It's our fans,” said Harper, who notched his first multihomer playoff game. “There's nothing like it. We come out of that tunnel ready to go, and I just laugh and I smile, because it's so much fun pandering. Right?

“Everybody talks about it. That's what everybody thinks I do or whatever. I love this place. Flat out, I love this place. There's nothing like coming into the Bank and playing in front of these fans. Blue-collar mentality, tough, fighting every single day. I get chills, man. I get so fired up. Man, I love this place!”

If ever there was a roster perfectly constructed for its ballpark, it’s Philadelphia’s. The slugging Phillies have outhomered opponents by 30 (60-30) in the postseason at Citizens Bank Park -- the best differential for any team in any park.

Philadelphia set a postseason club record and tied the MLB mark with six homers on Wednesday. Harper and right fielder Nick Castellanos became just the fourth set of teammates in MLB history with multihomer performances in the same playoff game.

“A lot of times, it's a great place to hit at,” said Phillies left fielder Brandon Marsh, who went deep in the eighth. “Ball flies fairly well here, and we've got dudes that can put it in the air and hit it pretty hard up in the air. So it's a good combination, and we’ve just got to come back out and do it again tomorrow.”

In all best-of-five postseason series entering 2023, teams leading 2-1 after Game 3 have gone on to win the series 69 of 96 times (72%). In Division Series with the current 2-2-1 format, teams ahead 2-1 and playing Game 4 at home had advanced 23 of 29 times (79%), with 17 of those 23 winners closing out the series in Game 4.

The Phillies and Braves are in the same spot as last year’s NLDS, which Philadelphia won in four games. Will history repeat itself?

Phillies fans began chanting “We want [Spencer] Strider” during the eighth inning. Strider, who lost Game 1 on Saturday night in Atlanta, will try to stave off elimination in Game 4 on Thursday night.

“You just laugh,” said Phillies shortstop Trea Turner, who homered in the sixth. “You never know where they're going to go or what they're going to do next. It's our job to play well and then let them do their thing. It's fun. Who knows what's in store for tomorrow, but [we’ll] try to give them a lead and let them do their thing.”