The Division Series will shift to Philadelphia Wednesday for Game 3 between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves will be looking for their first lead in the series after a thrilling comeback win at home in Game 2. After plenty of discussion, Atlanta announced Wednesday that Bryce Elder will get the start in Game 3. The Phillies will go with veteran righty Aaron Nola.
The Braves started the series going scoreless over the first 14 2/3 innings across the first two games of the series. They stormed back from a 4-0 deficit in Game 2, thanks to a pair of two run home runs by Travis d’Arnaud and Austin Riley. Riley’s eighth inning blast put Atlanta in front and set the stage for an amazing game ending double play in the ninth that started with a leaping catch at the wall by Michael Harris.
After putting up a record breaking performance offensively during the regular season, Atlanta is just 9-for-60 at the plate and those two homers are their only extra base hits. They have just one stolen base, have four walks and 20 strikeouts over the first two games. Getting the offense going early Wednesday would go a long way in neutralizing what is sure to be a raucous and rowdy crowd at Citizens Bank Park. Plus it would take some pressure off of a pitching staff that has done the job over the first two games.
The Braves considered a few different scenarios for their Game 3 starter, including going with an opener. They eventually settled on Elder, who made 31 starts and made his first trip to the All-Star Game, but struggled down the stretch. Atlanta is hoping that the extended rest from the end of the season until now will be enough to get Elder back on track.
For Elder, it simply comes down to his command. When he has it, he generates a ton of ground balls and a lot of soft contact. When he leaves pitches up and out over the plate, he gets hit hard. He is primarily a sinker/slider pitcher that will mix in an occasional change and four-seamer. The Phillies have seen the best and worst in Elder.
He struck out six and tossed seven scoreless innings during a 5-1 win in Philadelphia back on June 22. Elder though failed to make it out of the fourth inning in his last start against the Phillies on September 20, allowing three hits, five walks and four runs in just 3 2/3 innings.
The Braves just need Elder to get the game off the ground Wednesday night. Getting him through the lineup twice would be considered a big win.
Atlanta and Aaron Nola are no strangers to each other. Nola has faced them 33 times during the regular season and tossed six scoreless innings against them in the postseason last year. The Braves faced him three times during the regular season scoring a combined seven runs over 12 innings in the two games at Truist Park. Nola allowed just two hits over six scoreless in a June 22 start at Citizens Bank Park.
Austin Riley, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Marcell Ozuna have had some success against Nola in their career. Riley is hitting .412/.444/804 with five doubles and five home runs in 54 career plate appearances against the Phillies’ right-hander. Acuña has five doubles, four homers and has walked seven times in his career against Nola. Ozuna has hit four homers. Acuña is 0-for-5 in the series, but scored a pair of big runs in Game 2. Ozuna is 0-for-6 with a walk and two strikeouts over the first two games of the series.
Game 3 has an early start time of 5:07 p.m. ET and can be seen on TBS.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, October 11, 5:07 p.m. ET
Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Radio: ESPN Radio, 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan