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Can Diamondbacks' Chase Field rival Phillies' Citizens Bank Park in NLCS?

Patrick Lyons Avatar
October 13, 2023
Arizona Diamondbacks fans cheer from the stands as they take on the Los Angeles Dodgers during their National League Division Series game at Chase Field

DNVR Rockies beat writer Patrick Lyons is contributing to PHNX Sports’ coverage of the Diamondbacks’ postseason run. You can follow him on X, formerly Twitter, here.

The city of Phoenix turned out in full force for Game 3 of the National League Division Series, and the Arizona Diamondbacks returned the love in-kind with a historic performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In this next round against the Philadelphia Phillies, they will need even more passion from the Valley as well as some performances in hostile environments away from Chase Field.

The Diamondbacks hit four home runs in the same inning to win in thrilling fashion on Wednesday during a 4-2 win that finished off the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-game sweep that was largely unexpected. The fact that it came in front of 48,175 fanatics for the first playoff game inside their home ballpark in six years was icing on the cake.

“I wish it could be like that every night,” Tommy Pham said of the packed house. “The energy, the atmosphere, I loved it. It was sold out from the very top row up there … a lot of red.”

Corbin Carroll, who’s batting .412 with a 1.389 OPS in five games this postseason, had never played in front of such a large audience at home.

“Unbelievable,” he said of the empassioned crowd. “The fans showed out. A great environment, for sure. Good percentage of Diamondbacks fans. I thought they did us proud, kind of keeping the Dodgers out of here. It was awesome.”

Excluding the 22 postseason games at Chase Field — five of which did not fill to capacity — Arizona has struggled to sell out at home. In their 2,055 regular season contests in the building since the 1998 inaugural season, only 30 (1.5%) were as packed as Wednesday’s game. Nine of those were home openers.

The roof was open on the clear, 87-degree night for Game 3. Had it been closed, the roof would have surely blown off during the third inning when Geraldo Perdomo, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker and Gabriel Moreno all homered.

“It was like the next home run was further, then the next home run was harder, then the next home was more impressive because it was a foul ball, then the next pitch, boom, homer,” Pham said of the quartet. “It was amazing.” 

Moreno’s emotional roller coaster of an at-bat had fans all over the map. The 23-year-old swung late on 2-1 center-cut fastball that barely carried over the right field fence. Umpires conferred and ruled the play foul before confirming the call on a review. On the very next pitch, Moreno mashed an 82 mph slider to left field that set a new record, causing Chase Field to erupt with pandemonium.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” Carroll said. “Normally, with a foul homer, that’s not a good sign. For him to come through again, I know he’s going to be bragging about that for a while.”

For a team that finished 23rd in the major leagues in home runs, they’ve managed to hit 13 throughout the month, tied for the most this postseason. Up next for the Diamondbacks in the National League Championship Series: the other team with 13 homers in October, the Philadelphia Phillies.

Since moving to Citizens Bank Park in 2004, Philadelphia is 26-11 (.703) in the postseason, better than any team in any ballpark in the history of the sport (min. 20 games).

Paul Sewald, who’s pitched at Citizens Bank Park a total of 12 times during his seven-year career, knows what they’ll be dealing with quite well.

“They’re not extra polite there,” he said. “So, we will be ready. There is an inlet there in the bullpen. And I think we’re going to spend a lot of our time in there and staying warm and staying away from fans.

“They’re on you. I’m sure those fans are doing research about me and my family already.”

“Everyone says it’s kind of intimidating, but I feel like that’s the fun part,” said NLCS Game 2 starter Merrill Kelly. “That’s kind of why we’re here: We do it for the fans. The fans are the reason why we even have a league. So, I feel like even if they’re yelling at you or for you, as long as there’s 40,000 to 50,000 people in the stands, like that’s kind of what we get excited for.”

The scene in Philadelphia has been electric. After sitting out the postseason for a decade from 2012 through 2021, the City of Brotherly Love has stepped up over the past two seasons. The Phillies are 10-2 at Citizens Bank Park since the start of the 2022 postseason, only losing a pair to the Houston Astros in last year’s World Series.

“We know it’s electric,” Brandon Pfaadt said of the fans in Philly where Arizona won two of three this year. “We were there. It was electric during the regular season. So Lord knows what it’s going to be in the postseason.”

Expected to be the Game 3 starter following Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, Pfaadt will avoid pitching on the road in his next start. At home, he should be as comfortable on Wednesday with the crowd on his side. He didn’t allow a base hit until the third inning and even then he immediately wiped it away with a ground ball double play off the bat of David Peralta. 

Peralta, a former Diamondback who made comments to Bill Shaikin of the LA Times about Chase Field becoming somewhat of a home game for the Dodgers, went 0-for-2 and was resoundingly booed each time he stepped to the plate. Should Diamondbacks fans continue to apply pressure to the opposition during the NLCS, Chase Field could become the team’s secret weapon.

Perdomo gave the fans on Wednesday the greatest compliment possible, comparing the vibes to that of a winter ball playoff game in the Dominican Republic where every pitch is like that of Game 7 in the World Series. With Arizona sporting a 14-8 (.636) record in the postseason at home, fourth-best all-time (min. 20 games), Chase Field has already proven to be a major home field advantage. Considering Paul Sewald could not hear the pitches being called in his PitchComm, a more coordinated fan effort could really be impactful.

Lovullo’s mantra during the playoffs is that a connected team is a dangerous team. Connect the city with the team and you can have the greatest home field advantage in the game. 

The theory gets tested on Monday, Oct. 16 with Game 1 of the NLCS in Philadelphia at 5:07 p.m. MST.

Top photo: Rob Schumacher/The Republic

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