The NLDS returns to SunTrust Park on Wednesday for a pivotal winner take all Game 5 of the NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves came into the series boasting one of the league’s best offenses but it has largely been held in check by St. Louis pitching. The good news is, Atlanta’s pitching staff has pretty much matched the Cardinals pitch for pitch with great performances by Mike Foltynewicz and Mike Soroka in Games 2 & 3.
While Ronald Acuña Jr, Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies have done their part, Atlanta’s middle of the order has been largely silent. Freddie Freeman, Josh Donaldson and Nick Markakis have combined to go 7-for-48 with just three extra-base hits over the first four games of the series. Manager Brian Snitker said on Tuesday that he is contemplating a lineup change with Adam Duvall potentially moving into the starting lineup and likely replacing Matt Joyce who is 1-for-9 in the series.
The move makes sense on a lot of levels and would likely break up the string of three straight left-handed hitters with Markakis, Joyce and Brian McCann in the first four games of the series.
More Braves/Cardinals news
- If you want to make it into SunTrust Park to see Game 5, the team is selling standing-room-only tickets.
- Cardinals manager Mike Shildt told the media on Tuesday that he expects Adam Wainwright to be available out of the bullpen in Game 5 against the Braves on Wednesday.
- When the Braves take the field on Wednesday, they will be looking to put an end to a long postseason drought.
- The Athletic’s Eno Sarris takes a closer look at Ozzie Albies and Yadier Molina and how the trend of swinging at the first pitch has increased over the last several seasons.
- Trey Harris will represent the Atlanta Braves in Saturday’s Fall Stars Game. Here is a look at the complete rosters.
- The Tampa Bay Rays flipped the script again on Tuesday with a 4-1 win over the Houston Astros to force a Game 5.
- The New York Yankees became the first team to advance to the Championship Series on Monday and could get a key piece of their lineup back from injury. Outfielder Aaron Hicks missed the division series with an elbow injury that he suffered back on August 3. Hicks told reporters on Tuesday that he is ready to return.
- The Philadelphia Phillies are expected to announce soon whether or not Gabe Kapler will return as the team’s manager in 2020. Philadelphia’s season ended nine days ago and while several other teams have already moved on from their manager, managing partner John Middleton has been meeting with current players and gathering intel before making a final decision. You read that right, this is clearly ownership’s call and the Phillies’ front office appears to not be involved in the decision.
- The Boston Red Sox announced on Tuesday that pitching coach Dana LeVangie will not return to the team next season. Additionally, Brian Bannister will no longer serve as assistant pitching coach but will continue on as vice president of pitching development.
- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed in a television interview on Tuesday that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred recently warned city officials that the A’s could move to Las Vegas if the city doesn’t drop its lawsuit to stop Alameda County from selling its share of the Coliseum to the team. Currently, Oakland and Alameda County share ownership of the Coliseum and the city wants the county to sell its half of the stadium to the city rather than the A’s. One problem though, reports suggest that the city can’t match the $85 million offer made by the team for the stadium.