ATLANTA -- It's probably a good thing that the Philadelphia Phillies are collectively tough, or the events of the last couple of days would really be getting to them.
The Braves set a record for most runs scored in a playoff game -- in either league -- and had four homers to boot.
And now, with the series tied at one game each and the scene shifting to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium for three games, the Phillies face a new affront.
It seems that those tomahawk choppin' Braves fans, who would hardly win awards for political correctness, are concerned that the tobacco-chewin', hard-livin' guys from Philly might give baseball a messy name.
"I just shaved today," said Phillies third baseman Dave Hollins. "We've got a loose team. Our manager [Jim Fregosi] is great to play for. He hasn't forgotten what it's like to play, so he lets us be ourselves. Whether it's long hair, or being overweight, it doesn't bother any of us."
A chart accompanying a story on the Phillies' eccentricities in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that the Phillies beat the Braves in spitting, 22-9, Thursday night.
And a local talk show host here yesterday entertained top 10 lists from listeners on what Philadelphia first baseman John Kruk would be better suited for than baseball. The No. 1 choice: "Before" model for a weight-loss center.
"I read in the paper today how fat and ugly we are," said Philadelphia outfielder Pete Incaviglia. "But that's not what it's about. It's how you play the game, not how you look while you're doing it."
Incaviglia's point is of particular importance to the Phillies, who didn't play the game well at all Thursday night, and could get knocked out the NLCS entirely this weekend if they don't play better.
One of Atlanta's four home runs, a Fred McGriff two-run blast to the upper deck of Veterans Stadium in right field, was listed at 438 feet, a figure that was challenged by the Braves as far short of the distance.
No matter how far the homer traveled, McGriff's shot seemed to wake up the middle of the Braves' attack.
"We were out of the game very early," said Fregosi. "When you get out of a game like that, your concentration factor tends not hTC to be there. I was trying to get some of my pitchers some work, and we might not have been in the right frame of mind."
Fregosi will turn to left-hander Terry Mulholland (12-9) to get the Phillies back in the proper mental state.
Mulholland, who will oppose Atlanta left-hander Tom Glavine (22-6), was the National League starter in the All-Star Game this year and was well on his way to challenging Glavine and his teammate Greg Maddux, and San Francisco's Bill Swift and John Burkett, for Cy Young Award honors before hurting his hip late in the year.
Mulholland started the last game of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals and pitched well, convincing Fregosi to start him tomorrow and in a seventh game, if the series gets that far.
"At one point, rotating my leg was a difficulty and opening my hips to throw was hard," said Mulholland. "But while I was off, I was able to do most of the work I was able to do normally, without throwing. My arm feels stronger and my body's well rested. I'm looking forward to getting out there."
Fregosi said: "Terry is in great condition. My only concern is with his hip flexor, but his arm is in great shape. Last week, he eased through four innings and could have pitched seven or eight that day. There isn't any doubt in my mind that he can go seven, eight or nine."
NL PLAYOFFS TODAY
GAME 3 (Series tied, 1-1)
Site: Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
Time: 3 p.m.
Phillies starter: Terry Mulholland (12-9, 3.25)
Braves starter: Tom Glavine (22-6, 3.20)
TV: Channels 11, 9
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)