Following a bit of a shocking 7-6 loss in Game 1 of the NLDS, the Braves are looking to bounce back in order to avoid falling into the dreaded 2-0 hole in this five-game series against the Phillies.
While it’s not impossible to rally back to win a five-game series after being down by two games, it’s definitely not a position that you want to be in at all. That’s why it is absolutely imperative that Kyle Wright is able to give the Braves a good start this evening, at the very least. Wright has been a pretty reliable source of pitching for Atlanta this season and while his FIP- of 91 may be much higher than his ERA- of 77, that’s still nothing to sneeze at.
Kyle Wright has seen the Phillies three times this season and Atlanta went 2-1 in the three games that Wright pitched for the Braves against their divisional rivals from Pennsylvania. This included a stint where Wright went seven innings and only gave up three hits and one run in Philadelphia. Wright was also able to get into the sixth inning during his most recent start against the Phillies back on September 24 and did so while giving up only two runs.
Wright has proven to be a tough customer in general and he’s managed to get the job done against the Phillies on multiple occasions this season. While Philadelphia’s lineup is still pretty tough to deal with on any given day, this is still a crew that favors facing lefties over righties. Philadelphia ended the season with a team wRC+ of 115 against left-handed pitching — only three points behind the Braves and good for sixth place in all of baseball. On the other hand, the Phillies as a team had a 102 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers, which placed them in the middle of the pack and six points behind the Braves’ 108 wRC+ against righties. So hopefully Kyle Wright’s right-handed attack will be able to cool the Phillies down a little bit.
Kyle Wright will likely need to be on his A-game since Zack Wheeler surely will be. Similarly to how the Phillies never really got the hang of taking on Wright, the Braves didn’t really crack open any games while Wheeler was on the mound. Philadelphia finished with a 2-1 record against Atlanta in Wheeler starts. Wheeler made it into the seventh inning in each of his three appearances against the Braves and never gave up more than three runs in any of those stints. That included a seven-inning start against the Braves back on August 3 that saw Wheeler strike out seven while only giving up one run.
With that being said, Travis d’Arnaud and Matt Olson may not be sweating too much to see Zack Wheeler this evening. Not only did d’Arnaud and Olson both go deep with home runs yesterday, they went back-to-back against Wheeler on June 28 in the one Wheeler start where the Braves beat the Phillies.
Obviously we would all love to see both Olson and d’Arnaud keep that up in Game 2 this evening and we’d also enjoy seeing the team in general take advantage of more hitting situations. The Postseason setting is one where you absolutely can’t afford to leave scoring chances on the table and the Braves did that yesterday when they failed to capitalize on bases-loaded opportunities on multiple occasions. If they’re fortunate enough to find themselves in that situation, they must capitalize — the Phillies have already proven that they’re capable of doing it and they’re surely feeling confident after opening up their Postseason with three-straight wins. The Braves are going to have to meet the Phillies where they’re at right now when it comes to playing good baseball.
It’s not a must-win game in a literal sense because the Braves won’t be eliminated, but this is about as close to it as it gets. You absolutely do not want to go to Philadelphia down 2-0, as the task would become monumental at that point. It’s already a tough task to begin with since they’re absolutely going to need a win in Philly now but it’ll be easier with a win today. They have a steadying presence on the mound in Kyle Wright. While Zack Wheeler is tough, the Braves have proven that they can break through and at least show a solid amount of life against this guy. If the Braves are going to repeat as World Series champions, they’ve already got a tough road ahead and it starts with a win tonight, hopefully.
NLDS Game 2
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, October 12, 4:35 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan