The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves by a 3-1 final in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Thursday, punching their ticket to the NL Championship Series for the second year in a row. The Phillies will now play the Arizona Diamondbacks beginning on Monday for the NL pennant.
If you thought the Phillies would win without referencing the comments Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia made about Bryce Harper following Game 2 … well, about that. Rookie reliever Orion Kerkering, who did not pitch in Game 4, decided to celebrate while wearing a shirt that featured the phrase “Atta Boy Harper” on the front and “He wasn’t supposed to hear it” on the back. Here’s visual evidence, courtesy of Matt Breen of the Philly Inquirer:
For those who have not been paying attention, Harper was doubled-off to end Game 2 — he positioned himself to score on a hit, but the ball was caught in the air and he had strayed too far from first to get back in time. Reporters were present in the Braves clubhouse when Arcia loudly said “ha-ha, atta boy, Harper!”
A few reporters published Arcia’s comments, which then led to Harper staring Arcia down after homering twice in the Phillies’ Game 3 win. It should be noted Harper shrugged off Arcia’s quip when he was asked about them afterward. Arcia, for his part, also held court after Game 3 and explained that Harper “wasn’t supposed to hear it, that’s why we were saying it in the clubhouse.”
Clearly the Phillies — or, at least, their friends — found some humor in the situation.
Kerkering, by the way, has been one of the breakout pitchers of the playoffs. Despite making only three regular season appearances, he’s pitched in three postseason games and has allowed one hit and one walk while striking out one of the 11 batters he’s faced.