Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper reacts after hitting a three run home run during the third inning of Game 3 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It seems like every Phillies playoff game is its own episode in a sports-themed TV series that becomes more ludicrous with each passing day.

The Phils’ raucous 10-2 win in Game 3 of the NLDS versus the Braves on Wednesday night was the latest installment. This episode will forever be known as the “Atta Boy Bryce Harper Game,” thanks to some bulletin board material left behind by Philly’s new villain-of-the-moment, Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia.

It started in Game 2, when Harper ran into a double play following a dramatic catch by Atlanta center fielder Michael Harris II. Harper was too aggressive in trying to score on what he thought would be a double off the bat of Nick Castellanos. Instead, Harper was thrown out at first as he scrambled to get back to the bag in time.

That allowed the Braves to even the series 1-1 heading to Philadelphia. After the game, Arcia, who was standing around and not doing much on the game-winning play, decided to pop off in the locker room.

“Atta boy, Harper,” he cackled sarcastically, apparently repeating the tease multiple times.

Obviously, word of Arcia’s comments made their way to Philadelphia’s locker room in the hours leading up to yesterday’s game. Harper, not one to need any extra motivation, read the words and decided to do something about it.

Harper would follow that dinger up with a solo shot in the 5th inning, his second of the game.

During each home run trot, Harper glared at Arcia as he rounded second base. After the game, Harper acknowledged it was purposeful. 

It is a continuation of Harper’s ownage of Atlanta, especially in the playoffs. In seven career postseason games against the Braves, he’s hitting .481, with 5 HRs, 10 RBIs, with a slugging percentage of 1.148. For those of you not up on baseball numbers, that’s a bit good.

After the game, a depressed Atlanta locker room was left to assess how Arcia’s comments backfired.

And poor Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud appeared on the verge of tears as he scolded the media for telling tales out of school.

Of course, one could argue that players should watch what they say and always be aware that, in today’s society, everything could be on film somewhere. The locker room is filled with media members who are not beholden to voluntarily protecting the “sanctity” of the locker room. That’s on the players. Not only that, grownups take responsibility for stuff they say, own it, and move on. 

Anyway, we now await whatever episodic ridiculousness Game 4 will bring as the Phillies try to close out their series with the Braves and advance to the NLCS for the second year in a row. 

And don’t forget to catch the full recap on the latest Hittin’ Season podcast! 

John Stolnis grew up in Delco as a rabid fan of all Philadelphia sports, but the Phillies have always held a special place in his heart, particularly those disappointing Juan Samuel-led teams of the late...