Thanks to Atlanta’s 5-4 comeback victory against Philadelphia on Monday night at Truist Park, the National League Division Series now shifts back to Philadelphia tied at one game each.
Game 3 of the NLDS will be on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET on TBS. After Atlanta was held scoreless through 14 innings of Game 2, its prolific lineup burst for five runs over the final three frames to win 5-3. An 8-5-3 double play ensued to secure their victory — it marked the first time any postseason game involved an outfielder turning such an 8-5-3 DP, according to Elias Sports Bureau!
When Division Series have been tied after two games using a 2-2-1 format, the club returning home for Games 3 and 4 has typically won 28 of 42 times (67 per cent). That includes last year’s National League Division Series between Philadelphia Atlanta, where Philadelphia prevailed by taking both contests at Citizens Bank Park to advance to the NL Championship Series.
Because of this, there is no cause for alarm from the Phillies, who boast a 24-11 postseason record at Citizens Bank Park during this postseason and a.686 win percentage, which leads all teams with 20 or more playoff games played (minimum).
Philadelphia believes it has an edge with Nola on the mound for Game 3.
Nola pitched seven scoreless innings against Miami in Game 2 of the National League Wild Card Series last Wednesday. Philadelphia believes he may have found his groove after an inconsistent campaign. Over his past three starts – including that one against the Marlins – Nola has amassed 19 strikeouts while walking just one over 19 2/3 innings pitched.
Nola owns a 3.50 ERA against Atlanta this season in three starts and has gone 16-10 with a 3.30 ERA overall in 34 career starts against them (including postseason games), posting 12-3 record and 2.59 ERA at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia will revert to their right-handed lineup in Game 3, with Brandon Marsh replacing Cristian Pache at left field and Bryce Harper and Alec Bohm swapping spots in their middle lineup positions.
Atlanta will likely start 20-year-old right-hander AJ Smith-Shawver but may keep the announcement under wraps for as long as possible. His high-velocity repertoire could help him replicate Spencer Strider’s success against Philadelphia’s potent lineup. MLB Pipeline ranks him 53, and he posted a 4.26 ERA in 25 1/3 innings over six appearances this season; otherwise, Bryce Elder could get the start; Elder was an all-star this season but has faded down the stretch.
Atlanta returned to their usual lineup for Game 2 after getting shutout with its experimental approach in Game 1. Instead of trying to fix something that wasn’t broken during the regular season, Atlanta will use what works again.
After taking an off day on Tuesday, everyone should be well prepared for Game 3. Jose Alvarado and Craig Kimbrel can be utilized interchangeably as eighth and ninth innings pitchers, depending on which area of Atlanta’s lineup comes up next. Meanwhile, righties Jeff Hoffman, Seranthony Dominguez, and Orion Kerkering, and lefties Gregory Soto and Matt Strahm will provide support.
Aaron Nola is starting for the Phillies, and he was a stud in game two against Miami; he will be again here. Take the Phillies to win.
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