The Atlanta Braves won 101 games in the regular season compared to 87 for the Philadelphia Phillies. They are sitting on relatively even footing heading into Game 3 of the NLDS on Friday, though. The Phillies dispatched of the NL Central champion Cardinals in the Wild Card Series and then stunned the Braves with a Game 1 victory in Atlanta against ace Max Fried. The Braves bounced back for a 3-0 win in a rain-delayed Game 2.
It’s now 1-1 with the series shifting to Philadelphia, and the Phillies are hosting their first playoff game since 2011.
You can view the full postseason schedule by clicking here, and here’s the 2022 playoff bracket. Now, let’s get to the important stuff for Game 2.
How to watch
Date: Friday, Oct. 14 | Time: 4:37 p.m. ET
Location: Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia)
TV channel: FS1 | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Odds: TBA (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Starting pitchers: RHP Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) vs. TBA
Featured Game | Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
The Phillies were 47-34 at home this season compared to 40-41 on the road, so to come home with a split was a victory. In terms of head-to-head action, these two teams played 10 times in Citizens Bank Park this season and each team won five.
The Braves haven’t decided on their Game 3 starter yet. Manager Brian Snitker told reporters Thursday that it would be either veteran righty Charlie Morton or rookie fireballer Spencer Strider. Strider has dealt with an oblique injury, but Snitker said he’s ready to go.
Morton is less than a month away from his 39th birthday. He took a step backward this season, too, pitching to a 4.34 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. And he was a mess on the road, with a 5.72 ERA. In five starts against the Phillies, he had a 5.47 ERA with a 7.04 ERA in his three starts in Philadelphia.
Strider was stellar this season and surely would’ve already been the choice if not for the injury. He hasn’t started since Sept. 18. He was worse on the road this season, but still had a 3.25 ERA and 1.07 WHIP. In 21 1/3 innings against the Phillies this year, he struck out 34(!) while posting a 1.27 ERA and 0.66 WHIP.
On the Phillies’ end, we all know it’s Aaron Nola and that he’ll be expected to work deep into the game. The workhorse threw 205 innings in the regular season, his third 200-inning campaign. He pitched to a 3.25 ERA (2.58 FIP, 125 ERA+) and 0.96 WHIP with 235 strikeouts against 28 unintentional walks. In Game 2 of the Wild Card Series, he threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings with six strikeouts against a walk.
The Braves saw Nola five times this year. Nola went 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in those games. In his most recent outing, he worked six scoreless frames while striking out eight.
Should this thing be close going into the late innings, it’s a big advantage for the Braves. The Phillies have a thin and shaky back-end of the bullpen — as we saw in Game 1, when the Braves nearly came back — while the Braves have a lock-down group headed up by Kenley Jansen, Raisel Iglesias and A.J. Minter.
Citizens Bank Park was in the top third of MLB this season for hitters both in run-scoring environment and in home runs. The Braves led the NL in homers and the Phillies hit decently better at home.
I’ll ride Nola over the Braves’ starting pitching question marks in this one, but the Phillies have to score early.
Pick: Phillies 4, Braves 2