Phillies respectful of East-clinching Braves; teams may meet again in playoffs

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

There were no harsh words from the rival Phillies after the Braves clinched the NL East on the Philadelphia turf Wednesday night.

“Congratulations Atlanta Braves 2023 NL East Champions” flashed on the scoreboard at Citizens Bank Park after the Braves’ 4-1 victory. The Philly fans in attendance mostly rained boos on the Braves however.

Last season, the Phillies eliminated the Braves on the same field in the division playoffs. The Phillies won that series 3-1 -- just as the Braves won this four-game regular-season series.

The Phillies lead the NL wild-card race and the teams could face each other in the playoffs again in October.

But for now, September belongs to the Braves.

“Did we want it to be on our field? No,” Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber said. “But they’re going to have to do it somewhere. The focus is on us, still. We’re going to keep pushing until the very end.”

Earlier Wednesday, Phillies manger manager Rob Thomson tried to remove himself from some criticism in Philadelphia toward the Braves and their home-run celebrations.

Thomson appeared on a Philadelphia sports radio station early in the day and said “I like our guys to act like they’ve been there before,” which was perceived as a shot at the Braves.

But Thomson said from the dugout hours before the game that he just stated his personal philosophy.

“That was nothing to do with the Atlanta Braves and what Ronald (Acuna) does, or (Marcell) Ozuna,” Thomson said. “They can do what they want. I can’t control that. I just mentioned that I preferred people act like they’d been there. I wasn’t trying to start a controversy or anything like that.”

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Thomson also noted that the days of a pitcher sticking a fastball in a batter’s ribs because there was a perception of being shown up are long gone.

“It’s a different game now,” Thomson said. “I think most players, like myself, respect the other players so much that they understand they can ruin someone’s career.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.