December 9, 2023


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D-backs pitcher Merrill Kelly challenges Phillies followers earlier than Sport 2 of the NLCS

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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly

Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Merrill Kelly simply issued a problem to Philadelphia Phillies followers.

Effectively, type of. Kelly might be on the mound Tuesday in Philadelphia to start out in opposition to the Diamondbacks in Sport 2 of the Nationwide League Championship Collection (NLCS). Raucous Philly followers have been a menace to opposing gamers within the postseason, however the right-hander made it clear earlier than the primary pitch that he isn’t nervous in regards to the crowd noise at Residents Financial institution Park.

“Clearly I had by no means heard of that place on the sector,” Kelly advised reporters Tuesday afternoon. “However I’d be very stunned if I beat Venezuela in Miami.”

The sport Kelly is referring to was Group USA’s thrilling win over Venezuela on this yr’s World Baseball Basic (WBC). Group USA shortstop Trea Turner hit a go-ahead grand slam within the eighth inning in opposition to Venezuela to advance Group USA to the semifinals. Kelly was on the US roster for the WBC however didn’t seem within the USA’s 9-7 win.

Kelly’s feedback Tuesday doubled down on what he mentioned Sunday earlier than the collection started.

“Everybody says it is form of intimidating, however I really feel like that is the enjoyable half,” Kelly advised reporters about enjoying in Philadelphia. “That is why we’re right here. We’re doing it for the followers. The followers are the explanation why we’ve the league… I really feel that even when they’re screaming at you or for you, so long as there are 40 to 50 thousand spectators within the stands, that is why we’re pleased.” “

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Merrill Kelly
Merrill Kelly #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks walks off the sector after the third inning in opposition to the Los Angeles Dodgers throughout Sport 1 of the Division Collection at Dodger Stadium on October 07, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. Kelly is scheduled to start out Sport 2 of the Nationwide League Championship Collection in Philadelphia.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Photographs

The Phillies enter Sport 2 with a 1-0 NLCS lead over D-backs.

Bryce Harper celebrated his thirty first birthday with a 5-3 house win over Philadelphia in Sport 1 on Monday. Kelly, the 35-year-old who completed the common season with a 3.29 ERA, will attempt to tame Harper, Nick Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber and the remainder of the Phillies’ potent lineup in Sport 2.

Each Philadelphia and Arizona reached the NLCS after incomes postseason berths as Wild Card groups. Arizona earned the sixth and last berth within the Nationwide League playoffs after an 84-win common season. However the Diamondbacks swept the NL Central champion Milwaukee Brewers and the NL West-winning Los Angeles Dodgers to succeed in the championship collection.

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The Phillies beat the Marlins within the Wild Card spherical earlier than beating the 104-win Atlanta Braves within the Division Collection. This was the second yr in a row that the Phillies beat the Braves within the NLDS. Philly is now seeking to make back-to-back World Collection appearances.

“I really like this place,” Harper mentioned of enjoying in Philadelphia. “There’s nothing higher than coming to (Residents Financial institution Park) and enjoying in entrance of these followers. Employees’ mentality, robust, combating day-after-day. It provides me goosebumps, man. I really feel so fired up… I signed right here for the explanation it is to do all the things I can. And try to deliver the cup again to this metropolis.”

Philadelphia would be the metropolis of concord, however Philadelphia followers have been a headache for the Braves all through the latest collection.

Philly fanatics have pissed off Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia within the wake of his “Atta boy Harper” feedback. Some members of the Residents Financial institution crowd wore the “Is that too excessive for you, Spencer?” T-shirts mocking Atlanta participant Spencer Strider. Phillies followers even repeated the Braves’ “Tomahawk Chop” tune.

“It is spectacular,” Braves third baseman Austin Riley mentioned of Phillies followers. “It truly is. They’re loud. They’re there for each second, form of like our followers. They love baseball in Philly.”

Kelly’s feedback may very well be much more gas for the Philadelphia devoted.

The primary pitch of Sport 2 is scheduled for 8:07 PM ET on Tuesday. The match might be broadcast on TBS. The collection returns to Arizona for Sport 3 on Thursday.