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Phillies Braves NLDS preview

Series Preview: Phillies head to Atlanta for an NLDS matchup against the Braves for the second straight season

The Philadelphia Phillies made light work of the Miami Marlins in the NL Wild Card round and will now head to Atlanta to face the NL East Champion Braves in the NLDS for the second-straight season.

The Fightins have been on a collision course with the Atlanta Braves for weeks at this point. Anyone who thought the Miami Marlins (of all teams) would present any type of obstacle for the Phillies simply hasn’t been paying attention.

That’s okay. We’re still here. Welcome back. It’s time to lock in.

Everyone knows how good the Braves have been this season. I won’t sit here and tell you otherwise. The fact remains that Atlanta, while posting an 8-5 record against the Phillies this season, really doesn’t scare me in the slightest.

Three of the Phillies losses happened in extra innings. Those are regular season games, ladies and gentlemen, you’re not getting that bullshit zombie runner in the postseason. Point being, the “daunting Braves lineup and rotation” really haven’t been as scary against the Phillies.

That being said, if you don’t think the Atlanta Braves are pissing their pants knowing they have to face the Phillies in the postseason instead of a poverty team like the Arizona Diamondbacks, then I can say with absolute confidence that you are sadly mistaken.

NLDS Schedule: Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves 

  • Saturday, October 7th: Phillies @ Braves – 6:07PM (TBS)
  • Monday, October 9th: Phillies @ Braves – 6:07PM (TBS) 
  • Wednesday, October 11th: Braves @ Phillies – TBD (TBS) 
  • Thursday, October 12th*: Braves @ Phillies – TBD (TBS) 
  • Saturday, October 14th*: Braves @ Phillies – TBD (TBS) 

Probable Starters for the Philadelphia Phillies

Forget whatever narrative is being floated around for the next 24 hours. Ranger Suarez will be on the mound to open up the NLDS in Atlanta. 

  • Game 1: Ranger Suarez (4-6, 4.18 ERA)
  • Game 2: Zack Wheeler (13-6, 3.61)
  • Game 3: Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.46)
  • Game 4: TBD (possibly Suarez or Taijuan Walker / Cristopher Sanchez)
  • Game 5: Zack Wheeler

Ranger Suarez vs Spencer Strider 

Obviously, Rob Thomson and company have options with Taijuan Walker and Cristopher Sanchez both available, but this is Suarez’s baseball game. 

On the road this season, Ranger has posted a 3-3 record with a 2.75 ERA. At home, He’s 0-3 with a 4.94 ERA. Against the Braves specifically, Suarez has posted a 2-2 record with a 3.00 ERA. He has 48 strikeouts and one save in 16 appearances against Atlanta. 

In Game 1 of the 2022 NLDS last season, Suarez tossed just 3.1 innings, allowing one earned run, five walks, and five strikeouts. The Phillies jumped out to an early 6-1 lead before holding off a comeback from the Braves to steal game one 7-6 and ultimately send the series back to South Philly locked up 1-1. 

The NLDS never returned to Atlanta. The Phillies won the next two games at home, beating advancing to the NLCS against the San Diego Padres. They outscored the Braves 17-4 in the two wins at Citizens Bank Park and sent the Braves back to Atlanta, ending their otherwise impressive 2022 season. 

Listen, I’m not going to sit here on an airplane in route to Los Angeles with the rest of The Liberty Line crew and Phans of Philly and tell you that Spencer Strider hasn’t been anything short of dominant against the Phillies this season and honestly, throughout his career. 

On the year, Strider was 20-5 with a 3.86 ERA. He has gone 7-0 with a 2.01 ERA over seven career starts against the Phillies in the regular season. He was 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA against Philly this season. 

All that’s great for sure. Credit to Spencer Strider. The only problem is that NONE OF THOSE STATS MATTER in the postseason and the only thing I look at when it comes to Strider is his piss-poor performance last season when Rhys Hoskins bat slammed all over his face at Citizens Bank Park. 

In the 2022 NLDS, Strider allowed five runs over 2.1 innings. We’ll see what type of “juice” he and the rest of the Braves have after not playing meaningful baseball in nearly a month. 

Strider and who else…?

Outside of Spencer Strider in Game 1, the Braves will be without Charlie Morton, who has been ruled OUT with a strained right index finger. The next option, Max Fried, who’s expected to start Game 2, has been dealing with a nasty blister that’s caused him to miss a few starts at the end of the regular season. 

Probable Starters for the Atlanta Braves

  • Game 1: Spencer Strider (20-5, 3.86)
  • Game 2: Max Fried (8-1, 2.55)
  • Game 3: TBD (possibly Bryce Elder — 12-4, 3.81)
  • Game 4: Spencer Strider
  • Game 5: Max Fried

Blister Boy Max Fried, only pitched once this season against the Phillies, pitching 5 innings, allowing 4 hits and one earned run, which came courtesy of a Nick Castellanos homer in the bottom of the second. 

Note: That was the game the Phillies fell behind early before Bryce Harper and Bryson Stott both homered in the eighth and Trea Turner hit a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth, only for them to lose in extra innings thanks to that zombie runner that no longer exists.

Rookie Bryce Elder in Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park? LOL. Okay.

I understand that Edler was sensational in the first half but over the last few months, he came crashing and burning back to Earth including an outing in which he allowed four runs in 3.2 innings against the Phillies in September.

The Braves Rotation and Bullpen Depth is in Shambles.

The problem is that Atlanta really doesn’t have a ton of pitching depth behind an already bad third starter in Bryce Edler. Who’s next? Jared Shuster or Kyle Wright? Neither are inspiring a ton of confidence.

Any time you have a bullpen highlighted by Kyle Wright, AJ Minter and Brad Hand then you really don’t have to say much else. I mean for Christ’s sake, the Braves aren’t even sure if Bryce Edler is going to make the NLDS roster while also projecting him to start Game 3.

All things considered, this is all great news for the Phillies, who capitalized off a poor Atlanta bullpen multiple times in the regular season.

Atlanta Braves, Truist Park: The House that Nick Castellanos Built 

Phillies Braves 2022 NLDS

It’s not a stretch to state that Nick Castellanos owns Atlanta. In seven games against the Braves this season, he batted .357 with 10 hits, 3 home runs, 6 RBI, and 6 runs scored over seven games. Last year in Game 1 of the NLDS, Castellanos went 3-for-8 from the dish with 3 RBI.

Not to be forgotten, Casty capped off Game 1 with a beautiful catch in right field, bailing out a shaky closing effort from our old friend Zach Eflin. Also, note that Bryce Harper went 3-3 with a double, run, and a walk in Game 1 of the 2022 NLDS.

So yeah, while it might not be “The House That Nick Built” quite yet, beating the Atlanta Braves for the second straight season in the NLDS could easily change that and let me tell you, I’m here for it.

The Catch:

MLB Script Prediction:

The Phillies will drop game one (sorry, Ranger) and Zack Wheeler will respond with a dominant outing in Game 2, sending the Phillies back to Citizens Bank Park with the series tied 1-1. 

I will say, a lot of you are calling for a sweep and really, I don’t think that’s out of the realm of possibility. The Braves are going through it right now, and will enter the NLDS with more than a few issues, mainly in their starting rotation.

As long as the Phillies steal one game in ATL, you can start packing the Braves’ bags for Cancun. From there, the Phillies send Aaron Nola to the mound in Game 3 back home, before sending a combination of Ranger, Taijuan Walker, and Cristopher Sanchez out for Game 4, punching their tickets to the NLCS for the second straight season. 

Phillies NLDS Watch Party – Phans of Philly Los Angeles Takeover 

For the 1,000+ Philadelphia Eagles fans heading to Los Angeles, we’ll be in Santa Monica with Phans of Philly watching Saturday’s Game 1 and Monday’s Game 2 at Britannia Pub. As indicated above, both games will begin at 3 PM West Coast time.

$5 Miller Lites, $5 Seltzers, and $5 mixed drinks. Really can’t beat it. Again, that’s Britannia Pub (318 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401) which is great for anyone traveling with Phans of Philly since it’s just a 10 minute walk from the hotels.

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