Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly: I’d be ‘surprised’ if Phillies crowd trumps WBC

The Arizona Diamondbacks turn to right-hander Merrill Kelly Tuesday to quiet the Philadelphia Phillies‘ bats in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series. 

What role will the raucous home crowd at Citizens Bank Park play? In Kelly’s eyes, it’s not as pivotal of a factor as one might figure.

“I think that I haven’t obviously heard this place on the field, but I’d be very surprised if it trumped that Venezuela game down in Miami,” Kelly said Tuesday.

Kelly made two starts for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, including its thrilling 9-7 victory against Venezuela — which is the game that Kelly is referring to.

Phillies shortstop Trea Turner, who hit the game-winning grand slam for Team USA in that World Baseball Classic semifinal versus Venezuela, responded to Kelly’s comments later Tuesday.

“I would just wait and see what he says after,” Turner said with a smile, per the Washington Post.

As for the NLCS, Arizona dropped Game 1 of the series on Monday night, as Philadelphia hit three home runs over the first two innings and scored four runs over the first three innings off starter Zac Gallen in an eventual 5-3 win.

The Game 1 loss was the D-backs’ first of the 2023 postseason, as they swept the Milwaukee Brewers in the wild-card round and the NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the divisional round.

Kelly put together another impressive regular season for the Diamondbacks. Across 30 starts (177.2 innings), he posted a 3.29 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 187 strikeouts. Kelly has made one start for the Diamondbacks this postseason, which came on the road in Game 1 of their NLDS matchup against the Dodgers. In said start, Kelly surrendered zero runs and just five baserunners across 6.1 shutout innings.

First pitch for Game 2 is 8:07 p.m. ET.

Schwarber, Harper and Castellanos homer in Phillies’ 5-3 win vs. D-backs

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Merrill Kelly

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