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Brian Snitker, Braves trying to remain loose heading into pivotal Game 4

The Braves face a daunting task Thursday in Game 4, but just need to win one game to get the series back to Atlanta.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves understand the situation, but they aren’t making any sweeping changes in the way they prepare for Thursday’s Game 4 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Atlanta needs a win to send the series back to Atlanta for a decisive Game 5. A loss would be a disappointing end to what was an otherwise banner season.

“You come into a postseason, and the majority of those guys in that room have experienced everything that you can, game 7s, elimination games, big World Series games, the whole thing,” Snitker said of the Braves’ playoff experience. “We gotta win one game right now. We don’t have to win two. We just gotta win one.”

Coming into the series, most of the questions centered on the pitching staff. Would Max Fried be healthy? Who would start Game 3 with Charlie Morton sidelined? Would the bullpen be good enough? The pitching staff has largely been good enough, but hasn’t seen enough support from its vaunted offense. Snitker opted to shuffle his lineup in advance of Game 1’s matchup against Phillies left-hander Ranger Suarez. The Braves were shut out at home in that game for the first time since 2021. He is sticking with his normal grouping with Ozzie Albies hitting second Thursday night.

“After I did that and saw what it looked like and the whole flow of it and everything, I just figured we’d stay with what we’re doing.” Snitker said.

No one could have predicted that Atlanta’s offense would struggle to the magnitude that it has over the first three games of the series. Austin Riley said during pregame that he thought it was just a situation where guys are pressing and trying to do too much. Snitker added that he thinks they need just one big hit or one big inning to get things going again.

“I saw when we scored the run the other day, in Game 2,” Snitker said. “It kind of had a way of doing that. Guys are human. They want to do good. We’ve hit. We will again. Hopefully it’s tonight, but I think just one big hit or one two-out hit or something like that can get the ball rolling in the right direction.”

While the Phillies have looked loose and confident, the Braves have appeared to be at times shaken. Snitker was asked who was the leader in the clubhouse after the recent departures of Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson. He didn’t name names, but simply said that there a lot of guys that fill that role in Atlanta’s clubhouse.

“I think there’s a lot of them,” Snitker said. “I don’t know that we’re defined by one guy. I think that’s what makes us really good and what makes that clubhouse so good is there’s a number of guys in there that are willing and able to take that role upon. I don’t think anybody in there, the way it’s constructed, looks to one person. I think it’s a solid group.”

Charlie Morton update

When Charlie Morton was placed on the injured list, the hope was that he would be ready to return in time for the NLCS should the Braves advance. Brian Snitker said Thursday that Morton is throwing, but hasn’t really tested his injured finger by throwing a breaking ball yet.

“He’s throwing sides, playing catch, long toss, throwing sides,” Snitker said. “I don’t know if he’s really ripped a breaking ball yet. Hopefully we get where we get to decide on something like that.”

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