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Phillies wary of ‘bounciest turf’ in London for Mets series

 The Associated Press  |    Jun 8th, 2024 12:40pm EDT

LONDON (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker wants to keep the ball on the ground Sunday against the New York Mets.

That’s because the games at London Stadium have been so high-scoring.

Good game plan, but here’s another twist: The artificial turf here is pretty bouncy.

“It’s the bounciest turf I’ve ever been on, that’s for sure,” Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos said Saturday before the opener of a two-game set. “So you’re going to have to respect it a little bit, attack ground balls differently once it’s in the outfield.”

Phillies manager Rob Thomson described the field surface as “a little bit spongier than the turf that we see in the U.S.”

In 2019, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox combined for 10 homers over two games at the home of Premier League club West Ham. New York won 17-13 and 12-8.

The fences were pushed back for last year’s series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs. The 16-foot-high center field wall is 392 feet from home plate — 7 feet deeper than in 2019. The power alleys are 387 feet — an increase of 5 feet. Those dimensions are the same this time. Down each line is 330 feet.

The Cubs beat the Cardinals 9-1 in the first game last year in London, and the Cards earned the split with a 7-5 victory in the second one.

“I’m going to throw a lot of splitters, try to get a lot of ground balls tomorrow,” Walker said Saturday. “The ball does fly here. Try to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible, it should be fine.”

The Yankees-Red Sox series was the first time in their storied rivalry that they played on artificial turf.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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The Associated Press