Storylines for Braves-Phillies 2023 NLDS Sport 4

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As enjoyable as this postseason has been — and the way it already has an all-timer of an October spotlight with the the primary 8-5-3 double play in playoff historical past that ended Sport 2 of the Braves-Phillies Nationwide League Division Collection — one factor we haven’t seen but is a decisive win-or-go-home recreation for each groups. Frankly, we’ve solely had two collection thus far that weren’t a sweep! And now there is just one Division Collection left. It’s maybe not a coincidence that it’s the one many thought can be the tightest collection heading in.

Storyline No. 1: Is historical past actually going to repeat itself for the Braves?

It’s changing into legitimately unnerving what number of parallels there have been between this yr’s Braves-Phillies NLDS and final yr’s Braves-Phillies NLDS. Atlanta was, once more, precisely 14 video games higher than Philadelphia within the common season however discovered its home-field benefit rapidly snatched away. The Braves took the lead late in Sport 2 to even the collection. And in Sport 3, Aaron Nola was (once more) sharp for Philly, whereas a younger Braves pitcher obtained knocked round early, placing the sport far out of attain earlier than the NL East champs knew what hit them. A Residents Financial institution Park crowd made noise that certainly shook the bottom miles away.

And identical to that, a 100-plus-wins Braves season is on the brink. Final yr, the Phillies took an early lead in Sport 4 and breezed to an upset victory. Strider, the younger pitcher who struggled in final yr’s Sport 3 however was terrific on this yr’s Sport 1 (albeit in a loss), will now attempt to reverse the course of historical past. However the déjà vu is extraordinarily sturdy.

Storyline No. 2: Is the best-hitting lineup of all time ever going to indicate up?

OK, possibly not the greatest of all time, however the Braves have actually been among the best top-to-bottom offenses in latest baseball historical past, setting the MLB report for slugging share whereas tying it for residence runs. This offense has been streamrolling groups all yr, primarily from the season’s first week. The 2023 Braves, greater than something, have been relentless; this lineup has two MVP candidates and no straightforward outs on the backside of the lineup. After which this collection started, and Atlanta changed into a Useless Ball Period crew. The Braves have scored a complete of seven runs in three video games, and 5 of them occurred over a three-inning stretch on the finish of Sport 2 … the one motive they’re nonetheless taking part in baseball proper now.

The Braves have put up a .196/.257/.268 batting line on this collection. Ronald Acuña Jr., Matt Olson, Marcell Ozuna and Ozzie Albies have one extra-base hit mixed. Atlanta’s bats got here alive for 3 innings of this collection, however the different 24? Nada.

Storyline No. 3: Would anybody dare pitch to Bryce Harper once more?

There have been many, many postseason highlights during the last two Octobers, however whenever you shut your eyes and movie the primary one which involves thoughts … isn’t it Harper launching a ball deep into the Philadelphia evening? The Residents Financial institution Park crowd has been a roaring, hovering revelation for 2 consecutive postseasons, and Harper has been its plain avatar, a primal scream of joyous dominance nearly each time he involves the plate.

These are particular person baseball video games, and everyone knows the saying that momentum is pretty much as good as the following day’s beginning pitcher. However goodness, the Phillies, effectively, they have vibes proper now. They turned the web page on what may have been a soul-crushing Sport 2 loss prefer it was nothing, prefer it by no means occurred, with Harper main the best way with a pair of large dingers (together with a pair of memorable staredowns). The Phils, it doesn’t matter what the regular-season report says, look untouchable proper now. In that park, in entrance of that crowd, with Harper on the heater he’s on … they may be.



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