With the Phillies handling their business against the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild card round, they are now positioned to be the Atlanta Braves opponents in the 2022 NLDS. With these two teams having played 19 games against each other in the regular season in addition to having long standing familiarity as NL East division rivals, there are going to be plenty of storylines as these two squads square off.
Below is a breakdown of how the 2022 season series went and some things to look out for.
Braves 2022 head-to-head record against the Phillies: 11-8
In the Braves’ 19 games against the Phillies this season, the Braves won the season series although it was far from domination. The Braves played two four-game sets against the Phillies and split them both including their most recent series against them in Philadelphia in late September. The Braves did sweep a three game series at home over the Phillies in September as well which proved to be the difference in the season series. In addition to three series splits, the Braves won two series over Philadelphia versus one series win for the Phillies which came in late July with the Braves being on the road.
Notable Top Braves Performers
It is good news that the Braves appear to be optimistic about Spencer Strider’s chances to play in the NLDS, because he has been lights out against the Phillies this season. He has appeared in four games against the Phillies (including three starts) and posted a 1.27 ERA in 21.1 innings with 34 strikeouts against just seven walks. If Braves beat reporter Mark Bowman is right that Strider isn’t likely to throw more than 2-3 innings if he starts, that is problematic for the Braves chances given how well he generally plays against them. Kyle Wright has also played well against them in three starts against Philadelphia with a 2.84 ERA although the strikeout numbers have been somewhat lacking.
On the offensive side of the ball, one cannot overlook how well Austin Riley has played against them in 2022. In 81 plate appearances against the Phillies in 2022, Austin has slashed .351/.407/.514 although he weirdly only has a single home run against them. Dansby Swanson has put up good numbers against pretty much everyone this year other than the Mets (his numbers against NY before the last series of the season were decidedly bad) and his .815 OPS against the Phillies is no different although he certainly hasn’t raked against them. One factor that could influence the Braves’ lineups against the Phillies is that William Contreras beats up on the Phillies. Wild Bill has 71 plate appearances against Philadelphia this season and has posted a .297/.366/.500 line in those plate appearances. Philly is also the team that he has homered the most against with four knocks off Philadelphia pitching in 2022.
Areas of Concern for the Braves
On the Braves side, a few players have underperformed. Max Fried has looked somewhat human against the Phillies with a 3.13 ERA, but the bigger issue is Charlie Morton who has been really rough against Philadelphia. In five starts against them in 2022, Morton has posted a 5.47 ERA with 26 strikeouts and 11 walks in 26.1 innings. Offensively, Michael Harris has been pretty ordinary against Philadelphia in 2022 with a .744 OPS in 57 plate appearances and Matt Olson is in a similar boat with a .752 OPS although he does have five homers against Philly this year. More upsettingly, Travis d’Arnaud has done very poorly against Phillies pitching this season with a .196/.224/.304 line in 58 plate appearances.
Moreover, there are some Phillies that have done well against the Braves this season. Zack Wheeler is 2-0 in three starts against the Braves with a 2.70 ERA and 25 strikeouts and just one walk in 20 innings this season. Aaron Nola has been, on the whole, less effective than Wheeler against the Braves this year with a 3.67 ERA in five starts, but he was really good against the Braves in late September, pitched his brains out against the Cardinals in the wild card round, and will have a lot of familiarity with Braves hitters’ approach against him. Alec Bohm, who still hasn’t touched home plate, has been an important part of keeping the line moving against the Braves this year as he has slashed .342/.378/.434 line in 82 plate appearances in 2022. Bryce Harper has remained dangerous against the Braves with an .881 OPS against the Braves this year in 48 plate appearances.