In Philadelphia Thankfully, there won’t be any more challenging rotation choices. The top two veteran starters for the Braves will either help them win or they will lose and ponder what might have been if Spencer Strider hadn’t run out of gas.
As the Braves lost to the Phillies 9-1 in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Friday at Citizens Bank Park, Strider appeared to be both a superhero and a regular person. He should have been lifted sooner than he was, and there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss this. But for the time being, Atlanta must concentrate on its first elimination game since Game 7 of the 2020 NL Championship Series at Globe Life Field against the Dodgers.
Catcher Travis d’Arnaud of the Braves said, “Our backs are against the wall.” “I’m sure every baseball fan is aware of that. And we’ll be prepared to give it our all when the time comes.
The Braves currently trail in the best-of-five series 2-1 after dropping Game 3. In any of the three rounds they played en route to winning the World Series last year, they were not faced with an elimination game.
The Braves are in the wrong historically. Teams up 2-1 and playing Game 4 in their home ballpark have advanced 21 of 26 occasions (81%), in Division Series with the current 2-2-1 format. In 15 of those occurrences, Game 4 has marked the series’ conclusion.
Right now, the Braves need to win one straight, according to manager Brian Snitker. There is the ideal candidate for the job waiting for us. Charlie has encountered many of these circumstances. Additionally, we need to start scoring some runs.
In five starts this season against the Phillies, Morton’s ERA was 5.47, and on September 25, he allowed six runs in just 4 2/3 innings. However, in the postseason, the 38-year-old veteran has been a completely different animal. In his last ten playoff starts, he has a 2.51 ERA. In his last five elimination games, he is 5-0 with a 0.73 ERA (two earned runs in 24 2/3 innings) (four starts).
The Braves contemplated using Strider or Morton on Saturday after ending this series on Wednesday. This team’s choice to give Mike Soroka just one start in the 2019 NLDS matchup against the Cardinals was not quite as dubious. However, the decision’s implementation was unquestionably wrong.
Strider threw just 29 pitches in his complete performance through the first two innings, recording three strikeouts. The rookie pitcher, though, ran out of gas in the third inning after pitching for the first time since his left oblique started to trouble him on September 18. After walking Brandon Marsh on four pitches in the first at-bat, he needed 17 pitches to retire the next two hitters before giving up a three-run home run to Rhys Hoskins on a fastball traveling at 93.8 mph, the slowest fastball of the year.
In the first two innings, Strider’s fastball averaged 98.6 mph, and in the third inning, when he threw it 17 times, it averaged 96.4 mph. Given that he had only used a mound twice in the previous 26 days, the velocity decline was understandable, but he didn’t view it that way.
It’s October, not May, remarked Strider. “This season, I’ve pitched 130 innings. Every five days, I can throw 100 pitches with no problem. That is customary. I wasn’t down for two months, after all. I stopped tossing for six days before starting up again.
However, the time of year is precisely the reason why a shorter leash should have been in place, or at the very least, why the Braves should have had a pitcher in the bullpen after Marsh drew the walk to start the bottom of the third.
Snitker, who seemed to have a positive perspective when he said he began the game hoping to get four innings out of Strider, added, “As good as he was pitching, we believed we could glide him through.
The Braves struggled against Aaron Nola for more than six innings, scoring just one unearned run, but a third inning with six runs doomed Strider and depleted them. The fact that Jake Odorizzi pitched for three and a half innings and made sure Atlanta’s top relievers were rested for Saturday’s game was actually the most promising outcome.
heaviest-duty relievers On at least two days’ rest, Collin McHugh, Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter, and closer Kenley Jansen will all be available for Game 4. This could be significant because they might be required the next two days.
The Braves aren’t entirely in uncharted terrain, but they are in the must-win scenario they avoided last season. This is the same team that, despite trailing by seven games as late as August 10 of this season, captured its sixth straight division title.
The Braves’ Austin Riley stated, “Yeah, we’re facing elimination, but let’s see what we’re made of.” We’ll wait and see how we react. With anyone other than these group of people, I wouldn’t want to be in this situation. We’ll wait and see.