PHILADELPHIA — There have been a few upsets this postseason. Might another giant fall?
The Braves have won an MLB-best 104 games and will look to avoid being eliminated by the Phillies in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Despite a 10-2 loss in Game 3, Atlanta will turn to two of its top pitchers with the season on the line: Right-hander Spencer Strider will start Game 4 in Philadelphia , with left-hander Max Fried hoping for a winner-take-all victory. All Game 5s, if necessary, will be played Saturday night in Atlanta.
“It’s awesome,” Warriors manager Brian Snitker said. “If we don’t win one or two games with these guys, you know what, I feel good about our next two starters.”
Of all best-of-five postseason series entering 2023, teams leading 2-1 after Game 3 have won 69 of the 96 series (72%). In the current 2-2-1 Division Series format, teams leading 2-1 at home in Game 4 advance in 23 of 29 games (79%), with the winner in 17 of those games. The series ended in 4 games. The Phillies are among those clubs in 2022.
“Keep playing our game,” said Bryce Harper, who produced his first multi-homer postseason game Wednesday night. “We know they’re really good, they’re not going to fall down or die or anything like that. They’re a really, really good organization, a really good team, and we’ve seen that from them all year long. But we had 45 (thousand) fans and we’re really excited to go into tomorrow and have a good game.”
When does the game take place and how to watch it?
Game 4 will be Thursday at Citizens Bank Park at 8 p.m. ET on TBS. After the D-backs swept the Dodgers to advance to the National League Championship Series, the start time was adjusted from 6 p.m. ET.
All series are available in the United States on MLB.TV and are subject to verification by participating pay TV providers. Games are available for instant viewing worldwide (except Canada). The complete game archive will be available approximately 90 minutes after the game ends.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Warriors: RHP Spencer Strider
Strider gave the Braves what they needed, limiting the Phillies to two runs (one earned) in seven innings in Atlanta’s Game 1. Now he has a chance to continue that success against Philadelphia. Strider’s only career bad start against them came in Game 3 of the 2022 NLDS, when he allowed five earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. He was strong in the first two innings, but tired in the third inning of his first start in 26 days after missing time with a left oblique strain in the final weeks of the regular season.
Strider has a 1.90 ERA in eight career regular-season games (seven starts) against the Phillies. When he last pitched at Citizens Bank Park on September 13, he held them to one run in seven innings.
Phillies: LHP Ranger Suárez
In Game 1 against the Braves, Suarez allowed one hit in 3 2/3 scoreless innings, but he was lifted in the fourth inning as part of Philadelphia’s pregame plan to go high. Octane’s bullpen attacks Atlanta. The trick worked, as the Warriors were shut out at home for the first time since August 28, 2021. The Phillies could follow the same playbook in Game 4, with Suarez making no more than two appearances in the lineup before heading to the bullpen.
Who is the projected starting lineup?
Brave ones: With Suarez expected to only play a few innings in Game 1, the Braves opted to move Austin Riley to second in the lineup, Matt Olson to third and Ozzie Albies to Fourth, thus creating some matchup. As a result, the Phillies’ top left-handed reliever José Alvarado will have to face two reliable right-handed hitters, the changeup hitters, after he takes the field to face Olson. Albies and Marcell Ozuna. They may not adjust their lineup this time.
Philadelphians: Expect Philadelphia to use a right-handed lineup in Game 4. That meant Brandon Marsh passed Christian Pache in left field and Bryce Harper hit third instead of clearing out.
How will the bullpen line up after the start?
Brave ones: With AJ Smith-Shawver covering the final 2 2/3 innings Wednesday, the Braves will enter Game 4 with everyone on the ice. Left-handed Brad Hand is a weapon for Schwarber and Harper in the team’s middle game. Hand struck out Schwarber in Game 3 but surrendered the second of Harper’s two homers. AJ Minter, Joe Jimenez and Pierce Johnson are the top closers for Russell Iglesias.
Philadelphians: Manager Rob Thomson should have everyone available for Game 4, which comes after no games on Tuesday and no games on Friday. Of Philadelphia’s high-leverage relievers, only right-handers Serantoni Domingos and Orion Cochlin and left-hander Matt Strahm were available in Game 3.
Philadelphians: Rhys Hoskins is on a 60-day IL after undergoing left ACL surgery in March. The Phillies said Hoskins has a chance to play in the postseason this year, but that won’t happen until the World Series. Even then, he will be limited to DH or pinch-hitter duties. Hoskins is currently in Clearwater, Florida, where he continues to rehab and face live pitching as part of Philadelphia’s standby group. … Right-hander Dylan Covey is on the injured list with a lower back injury. He is not expected to make the NLD roster.
Who is hot and who is not?
Brave ones: Albies went 4-for-11 with no extra-base hits in the series, while Riley went 4-for-13 with a homer. It was a hot topic for the Braves, who had a combined three extra-base hits in their first three games. Acuña went 2-for-10 with a double and Michael Harris II went 0-for-11.
Philadelphians: Harper hit two home runs in Game 3 and three in the National League. Turner homered in Game 3 and had a hit in each of his five postseason games. He had two hits in three games. Realmuto had a double and two RBIs.
Is there anything else fans should know?
Brave ones: Atlanta has lost Game 4 of the NLDS in three of the past five postseasons (2022, ’19, ’18). When the Braves swept the Marlins in 2020, a Game 4 wasn’t necessary. Freddie Freeman’s home run off Josh Hader gave Atlanta the win in Game 4 of the 2021 NLDS against the Brewers.