Move over, Scooby-Doo: There's a new (super)hero in town.
The Philadelphia Phillies closed out the National League Division Series at home on Thursday night, beating the Atlanta Braves 3-1. While a lot of players stepped up for the team throughout the series, one player in particular kept his foot on the pedal during Games 3 and 4.
After going 2-for-4 with two home runs Wednesday, right fielder Nick Castellanos decided he'd like a repeat, hitting 3-for-3 with two home runs in Thursday's win to send the team to the National League Championship Series for the second straight season.
Following his performance, many fans revisited this photo of Castellanos, who stood on the dugout stairs, watching as Atlanta celebrated clinching the NL East title back on Sept. 13 at Citizens Bank Park:
It's safe to say the outfielder hadn't forgotten about that night heading into the NLDS rematch with Atlanta and was a man on a mission.
In the first three innings of Game 4, the Phillies stranded runners on base against Atlanta's ace, Spencer Strider. Then, third baseman Austin Riley put a ball over the wall in left field to stake the visiting team to a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
That lead didn't even last a full inning. With one out in the bottom half of the fourth frame, Castellanos turned on the first pitch, sending the home crowd into a frenzy and the team into a tie.
Two innings later, he added on, taking Strider deep to left for the second time of the night, making history in the process. Castellanos became the first player in MLB postseason history with back-to-back multi-home run games.
The right fielder's son, Liam Castellanos, has become somewhat of a Phillies legend when he attends home games. On Wednesday and Thursday, he proved yet again that his presence might just be one of the keys for his dad's success.
Ahead of his at-bat with the team down 1-0, Scott Lauber of The Philadelphia Inquirer relayed the interaction Castellanos had with Liam before he stepped to the plate and crushed the game-tying home run: "He just looked at me with an excited face and said, 'Let's go!'"
And don't worry. Liam got to celebrate with the team too, including performing a duet with second baseman Bryson Stott for Stott's walk-up song, "AOK."
And let's not forget one of the perks of Castellanos having a good game — postgame chats. If there's one consistent in life as a Phillies fan the past two years, it's Castellanos delivering interview gems, and after the final out, he came through for Philly fans during his talk with Matt Winer on TBS:
When talking with MLB Network's Greg Amsinger, Amsinger noted that it seems Castellanos was made for Philadelphia. The 31-year-old's reply didn't disappoint: "I mean, yeah, I f**k with Philly."
At this point, it's safe to say that sentiment is mutual. And while we're at it, let's add trendsetter to Castellanos' resume too, as he introduced a new celebration this postseason that initially had some fans and teammates raising their eyebrows before they took a closer look. In addition to his bat flips, he made sure to include it when he rounded the bases Thursday night:
Maybe his teammates put it best when describing what kind of person Castellanos is. Shortstop Trea Turner said the following, according to Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post: "He's unique, man. He's one of one. I've never met anybody like him, and I mean that in a good way. It's pretty cool watching him be comfortable and be himself. ... You talk to him for an hour, you'll figure it out. He sees the world differently."
Different or not, it's clear there is one thing on his mind — stepping up in the biggest games to ensure he and his teammates walk away with rings. In the NLDS, Castellanos hit .467 with four home runs, four RBI, two walks and only one strikeout. In the 2023 postseason as a whole, he's slashing .391/.440/1.000 across 25 plate appearances.
As the Phillies turn to their next opponent, the Arizona Diamondbacks, in the NLCS, the team will be hoping Castellanos can replicate his recent hot streak as it attempts to get back to the World Series.