An anticlimactic Wild Card round ended Wednesday and the matchups for the Division Series are set. The Atlanta Braves will face the Philadelphia Phillies starting Saturday in a rematch of last season’s Division Series matchup which Philadelphia won 3-1. The Braves won eight of 13 matchups against the Phillies during the regular season and outscored them 74-58. Below is a breakdown of each series.
Over the course of 13 regular season matchups, the Braves hit .270/.311/.489 and held the Phillies to a .217/.300/.398 line. Atlanta out homered them 24 to 19.
May 25-28: Braves, Phillies split four games at Truist Park
One of the wrinkles of the new balanced schedule was a reduced amount of matchups in the division. The Braves didn’t see the Phillies the first time until late May.
The Braves took the opener of the series as they beat up Aaron Nola for five runs. Austin Riley homered twice and Marcell Ozuna allowed another in the win. Dylan Dodd allowed four runs over five innings, but a three-run eighth inning by Atlanta against Gregory Soto was the difference. The Braves’ bullpen allowed just one run over the final four innings.
Atlanta dropped the second game of the series 6-4. Jared Shuster matched Taijuan Walker early, but Joe Jimenez and Lucas Luetge let the lead slip away late. Michael Harris entered the game hitting just .181/.257/.287, but finished with two hits, including his second home run of the season.
In the third game of the series, Charlie Morton allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings, but was no match for Zack Wheeler who turned in a dominant performance striking out 12 over eight scoreless innings. Sean Murphy homered off of Craig Kimbrel in the ninth, but it wasn’t enough in a 2-1 loss.
After struggling offensively over the middle two games of the series, Atlanta’s offense broke out in a big way against Dylan Covey who retired just two batters while allowing seven runs (five earned). Atlanta banged out 20 hits, including a pair of homers from Matt Olson and another from Riley. Spencer Strider allowed two runs and struck out nine over six innings.
June 20-22: Atlanta sweeps a rain-shortened series in Philadelphia
The second meeting between the two teams took place at Citizens Bank Park in late June. The Braves took the opener of the series 4-2 despite going just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Ronald Acuña Jr. had two hits while Olson and Riley homered again. Strider and Ranger Suarez allowed just one run each over six innings, but the Braves tagged Jeff Hoffman and Andrew Vasquez for three runs to set up the win.
The second game of the series was rained out and rescheduled as a doubleheader in September. The series finale featured a pitching duel between Bryce Elder and Aaron Nola. Elder struck out six and tossed seven scoreless innings while Nola allowed just two hits over six scoreless. The game entered the 10th scoreless where an error by Kyle Schwarber in left field opened the flood gats for a five-run inning.
September 11-13: Braves take 3 of 4 in Philadelphia
Another slugfest of a game as the Braves squandered 5-2 and 8-4 leads. Bryce Harper tied the game with a two-run home run off Raisel Iglesias with two outs in the ninth to force extra innings. Atlanta scored two in the 10th off of Jose Alvarado to score the win. Harris and Acuña homered in the win.
The Phillies scored four first inning runs off of Kyle Wright and never looked back in a 7-5 win to split the twin bill. Wright was making his first start since returning from the injured list after just three rehab appearances. Olson homered two more times in the loss. Jackson Stephens and Pierce Johnson combined to allow one run and strike out nine over the final five innings of the game.
Another tightly contested matchup that ended in 10 innings. The Braves beat up Wheeler for six runs and three homers over five innings only to see the Phillies fight back and force extras. Max Fried allowed one run over five innings, but Iglesias again blew a save when he allowed a solo home run to Trea Turner to start the ninth. Eddie Rosario put the Braves back in front with an RBI single off Kimbrel and Brad Hand closed the game out to seal the win.
Spencer Strider turned in another dominant performance allowing one run while striking out nine over seven innings to give the Braves a series win. Cristopher Sanchez struck out 10, but allowed four runs in the loss. Riley had two hits, including his 35th home run of the season, and drove in three of the four runs to pace Atlanta’s offense. Acuña and Ozzie Albies combined for five hits and scored a pair of runs. This win clinched a sixth-straight NL East title for the Braves.
September 18-20: Atlanta drops 2 of 3 at Truist Park
This was part of a stretch where the Braves dropped five of six after clinching the division. Wheeler bounced back from his rough outing in Philadelphia by allowing one run over six innings. Wright, facing the Phillies for a second straight time, struggled again as he and Michael Tonkin combined to allow seven runs in the loss. Atlanta managed just four hits with their only run coming on Ozzie Albies’ 31st home run of the season.
Acuña homered twice and Strider struck out 11 over seven innings as the Braves bounced back with a 9-3 win. Acuña had three hits and picked up his 67th stolen base of the season. Sanchez allowed three runs over four innings, but battered Michael Lorenzen for four runs in just a 1⁄3 of an inning to blow the game open.
Another extra inning contest between the two teams. Elder failed to make it out of the fourth inning while allowing a pair of homers to Nick Castellanos. Atlanta’s bullpen held the Phillies in check as the Braves tied it in the eighth with run scoring hits by Riley and Ozuna. A.J. Minter allowed two runs to score in the 10th on an opposite field double by Bryson Stott. Atlanta got one back in the bottom half, but ultimately fell 6-5.
Unsurprisingly, the Braves put up some good offensive numbers against the Phillies. Matt Olson had six home runs and drove in 15 runs in the 13 games. Ronald Acuña Jr. homered four times, scored 11 runs and stole seven bases. Marcell Ozuna hit .347/.396/.694 with four home runs against Phillies pitching. Olson, Ozuna and Austin Riley all finished with OPS of more than 1.000.
On the pitching side, Strider was dominant posting a 2.42 ERA to go along with 38 strikeouts in 26 innings. Max Fried faced Philadelphia just once during the regular season while Bryce Elder had the full range of outcomes with one excellent start and one bad one.
Raisel Iglesias allowed four runs in six innings, although only two were earned. He did surrender two homers and blew a couple of saves. Bryce Harper is 6-for-9 with four home runs in his career against Iglesias.