Phillies oust Marlins, rematch with Braves next in NLDS

October 5th, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- leaned back and watched.

He said he never pimps home runs because he never hits them far enough, but he could not help but admire the one he hit Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Stott's sixth-inning grand slam locked up a 7-1 victory over Miami in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series. It secured a rematch with Atlanta in the NL Division Series.

So Stott watched the ball fly into the right-center-field seats, took a few steps toward first base and slammed his bat into the turf.

“I blacked out,” Stott said. “I didn’t know I did that. I’ll have to go back and watch it.”

Maybe later. The Phillies had champagne and beer to spray.

“Don’t give the Phillies a reason to party,” Phillies catcher said. “These guys like to have a good time. We like to celebrate together and that’s part of the reason we play so well on the field.”

But their business is not finished. Far from it. The Phillies are not a team simply happy to be in the postseason. They want to win the World Series after they fell two wins short last year. They hope to take another step toward that goal in the NLDS.

Game 1 is Saturday at Truist Park.

The Phillies will be underdogs in the best-of-five series. They were underdogs against Atlanta last year, too, when they won the series in four games.

“We feel like this is what this team is built for,” Realmuto said. “We’re built for postseason success. With the run that we went on last year, all that did was give us even more confidence that we have what it takes to get it done. Obviously, we’re going up against a really good team in Atlanta, but we’re confident in the guys in this clubhouse. It should be a lot of fun.”

The Phillies played Miami this week like the well-rounded, experienced team Realmuto described. pitched seven scoreless innings in Game 2, 24 hours after Zack Wheeler allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings in Game 1. It is the second time Wheeler and Nola have pitched six-plus innings and allowed one or fewer runs in back-to-back postseason games.

They did it last year in the NL Wild Card Series, too.

“Wheeler and Nola,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “Those guys are going to haunt my dreams.”

“It’s all too familiar,” Realmuto said.

and knocked in runs in the third inning to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Realmuto’s home run to left field in the fourth made it 3-0. Then the Phillies loaded the bases in the sixth for Stott.


“I was standing on second base, just laughing and smiling,” Bryce Harper said. “Just a really cool moment for him. I gave him a big hug and told him I love him, man.”

This was the Phillies’ second champagne celebration in nine days. They had four of them last year.

They want the fifth.

They need to get through Atlanta first.

“There are no secrets about who we are as teams,” Schwarber said. “They know who we are. We know who they are. It’s going to be a dog fight. There’s no doubt about that.”

Phillies manager Rob Thomson knows who will start Game 1, but he said he will not announce it until he tells the pitchers involved. Left-hander Ranger Suárez is the favorite, although right-hander Taijuan Walker and lefty Cristopher Sánchez are options. Wheeler will start Game 2 on Monday. Nola will start Game 3 next Wednesday.

The Braves are expected to pitch Spencer Strider in Game 1 and Max Fried in Game 2.

“We know what they can do, we know how good they are,” Realmuto said. “But we’re definitely not intimidated by them. We feel like we line up well with them. We match up well. We’re going to have to play really good baseball to beat them, but we have the confidence in the guys in this clubhouse. If we go out there and play well, we’ll be right there at the end.”

Because the Phillies believe they are built for this.

“I just think we have guys in this clubhouse who have a lot of confidence in themselves,” Realmuto said. “They live for the big moment. You’ve seen it up and down the entire lineup. We feel like from 1-9 anybody can get the job done on a given night. We don’t have to rely on one certain player or one certain pitcher. I just feel like we have the depth to have success in the postseason.”