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Phillies Bryce Harper NLDS Preview

Preview: Phillies are back at Citizens Bank Park with Aaron Nola on the mound looking for a 2-1 series lead in the NLDS against the Braves

The Philadelphia Phillies are back home for Game 3 of the NLDS against the Braves tonight at 5:05PM EST, with Aaron Nola set to take the mound against what appears to be a bullpen from Atlanta.

Obviously, winning Game 2 would have been incredible. The Phillies could have been back home for the next two one win away from punching their tickets to the National League Championship series for the second straight season.

Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen and the result is the Phillies back home with the series tied 1-1 after letting Game 2 slip away over the final three innings of the game. The Phillies held a 4-0 lead heading into the seventh inning of Game 2 on Monday in Atlanta and ended up losing 5-4, as the Braves erupted for five runs over the final three frames.

Read Game 2 Recap Here >>

Now for the second straight postseason, the NLDS will return to Citizens Bank Park tied 1-1 and the Phillies looking to ensure that the series never returns to Truist Park in Atlanta for Game 5. 

When a Division Series with the current 2-2-1 format has been tied after two games, the club heading home for Games 3 and 4 has won the series 28 of 42 times (67 percent). That includes last year’s NLDS between these two clubs, when Philadelphia won both contests at Citizens Bank Park to advance to the NL Championship Series. (via

Home Cookin’ Tonight at Citizens Bank Park

Also worth noting, the Philadelphia Phillies are 24-11 at Citizens Bank Park during the postseason. That’s good for a .686 winning percentage, which is the best in the playoffs for any team, in any park. They are 49-32 at home this season, has won 8 of its past 10 postseason games at home.

Aaron Nola vs Braves’ Bullpen

Nola was strong in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series last Wednesday, tossing seven scoreless innings. He’s 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his last 3 three starts with 19 strikeouts and just one walk over 19.2 innings. Against the Braves, Nola has a 3.50 ERA in three seasons. At home, those numbers improve in the Phillies’ favor, with Nola posting a 12-3 record with a 2.59 ERA over 18 starts at Citizens Bank Park. 

The Braves decided to get cute by not naming their Game 3 starting pitcher, well, because they don’t have one. It looks like Atlanta is going to send AJ Smith-Shawver to the mound in a bullpen game tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Smith-Shawver, MLB Pipeline’s No. 53 ranked prospect has a 4.26 ERA over 25.1 innings (six appearances) this year.

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The other option for Atlanta would be Bryce Edler, who dominated earlier in the 2023 season before coming way back down to earth after the All-Star break, posting a miserable 5.11 ERA during that span, while an even worse 5.68 ERA in the month of September. 

Needless to say, the Phillies are looking good on the mound entering tonight’s pivotal Game 3.

Phillies Projected Lineup

Safe to say the Phillies’ will return to their right-handed lineup against either Smith-Shawver or Edler. Brandon Marsh will start in left field while everything else stays the same. We could also see Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper switching spots in the 3 & 4 holes.

  1. Kyle Schwarber, DH 
  2. Trea Turner, SS
  3. Bryce Harper, 1B  
  4. Alec Bohm, 3B 
  5. JT Realmuto, C 
  6. Nick Castellanos, RF 
  7. Bryson Stott, 2B 
  8. Brandon Marsh, LF 
  9. Johan Rojas, CF

Phillies Notables:

  • JT Realmuto home run Game 2. Second of the postseason. Fifth career postseason homer, good for the most by a Phillies’ catcher in franchise history. 
  • Trea Turner has at least one hit, including three doubles, in each of the first four playoff games in Philadelphia. 
  • Aaron Nola is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 7 innings pitched this postseason at Citizens Bank Park. During the regular season, Nola posted a 6-3 record with a 3.29 ERA at home. 
  • Aaron Nola is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 7 innings pitched this postseason at Citizens Bank Park. During the regular season, Nola posted a 6-3 record with a 3.29 ERA at home. 
  • In 67 games this season, Bryce Harper batted .352 with 15 home runs, 15 doubles, a triple, and 45 RBI when playing at Citizens Bank Park. 

Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies – Prediction

The Phillies are not losing this baseball game. Forget the “spark” that happened by the Atlanta Braves in Game 2. That “sparked” barely equaled a lighter flame and now they have to come into Citizens Bank Park on a beautiful fall evening and deal with their bullpen starting postseason baseball games in order to save them from falling behind 2-1 in the series to the same team that upset them last year.

Aaron Nola is battle tested in the postseason and has proven multiple times that he can rise to the occasion when the Phillies need him the most. Mix in a hot JT Realmuto and Trea Turner with Bryce Harper, who wants nothing more than the bright lights in South Philly all over him every time he steps up to the plate and the Phillies win this game. Handedly.

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