ATLANTA — The Braves’ spirited ninth-inning rally on Tuesday afternoon might’ve scored a moral victory, if such things exist amid the pressure of a best-of-five playoff series. The Phillies scored the real victory.
Philly broke out to a big lead and then held on to win Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Truist Park. That takes some heat off the visitors in Game 2 on Wednesday. Win behind their ace, Zack Wheeler, and they head home with Aaron Nola lined up for Game 3 on Friday with a chance to advance to the NL Championship Series. Lose Game 2 to Kyle Wright and the Braves, and the Phillies will hand the baseball to Nola at home having split the first two games on the road.
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“Yeah, to be able to punch first is huge, but by no means do we think that this series is over,” Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins said. “We know the caliber of team over there and the way they can string together some wins. So we’ll take Wheeler’s stuff tomorrow. We feel good about that, but we know we have work to do.”
In a matchup of NL East foes with few surprises, there are especially few surprises in Game 2. Wheeler, the former Met and a native of suburban Atlanta, will be making his 25th career start against the Braves. And Atlanta catcher Travis d’Arnaud, another former Met, was at his wedding.
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“How I look at it,” d’Arnaud said, “they have to win two more. We have to win three more. We've won three in a row. They've won two in a row. So it's just about taking it day by day and going out there tomorrow with Kyle on the mound and us [being] ready to go.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 2 was scheduled for Wednesday at 4:35 p.m. ET on FOX, but the start was delayed due to rain. All games are available in the U.S. on MLB.TV (authentication to a participating Pay TV provider is required). Live games are also available in select countries outside the U.S. For full details click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Phillies: Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA) makes the second start of his postseason career. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings Friday in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Wheeler grew up about 20 miles from Truist Park, so this is home for him. He is 10-7 with a 3.16 ERA in 24 career starts against the Braves. He is 2-2 with a 2.78 ERA in five starts in Atlanta since he joined the Phillies in 2020.
Braves: Wright (21-5, 3.19 ERA) will look to carry over his regular-season success into the postseason. He had completed at least five innings in just five of 14 career starts before becoming MLB’s only 20-game winner this year. The right-hander began living up to expectations after gaining confidence with two appearances during last year’s World Series. His 4 2/3-inning relief effort in Game 4 helped Atlanta claim its first championship since 1995.
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What are the starting lineups?
Phillies: It makes sense that Brandon Marsh and Bryson Stott are returning to the lineup with a right-hander on the mound in Wright. They did not start in Game 1 against Braves left-hander Max Fried.
Here is the Game 2 lineup:
1. Kyle Schwarber, LF
2. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
3. J.T. Realmuto, C
4. Bryce Harper, DH
5. Nick Castellanos, RF
6. Alec Bohm, 3B
7. Brandon Marsh, CF
8. Jean Segura, 2B
9. Bryson Stott, SS
Braves: With the Phillies starting a right-hander, Matt Olson was slotted third and Harris moved up from eighth to sixth in the lineup. Instead of William Contreras, Marcell Ozuna got the start at designated hitter.
Here is the Game 2 lineup:
1. Ronald Acuña Jr., RF
2. Dansby Swanson, SS
3. Matt Olson, 1B
4. Austin Riley, 3B
5. Travis d’Arnaud, C
6. Michael Harris II, CF
7. Orlando Arcia, 2B
8. Marcell Ozuna, DH
9. Eddie Rosario, LF
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Phillies: Philadelphia rode its bullpen hard in Game 1, after Ranger Suárez lasted only 3 1/3 innings. But most relievers should be available in Game 2. Seranthony Domínguez threw only 18 pitches, but he also pitched two innings in a dominant effort. It will be interesting to see if the Phils use him in Game 2, if they need him. Dominguez missed time late in the season because of tendinitis in his right biceps. The team might want to be careful with him.
Braves: Atlanta had to dip into its bullpen during the early portion of Game 1, but given that the NL East champs entered this series with five days off, everybody should be available in Game 2. The Braves didn’t have to use any of their high-leverage relievers during Tuesday’s loss. Spencer Strider is on the roster, but they haven’t said if they’ll use him out of the bullpen or as an opener as he comes back from a strained left oblique muscle.
Any injuries of note?
Phillies: Philadelphia lost right-hander David Robertson for the NLDS after he strained his right calf jumping to celebrate Bryce Harper’s home run in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series in St. Louis. He had a PRP injection, although it is unclear if he could pitch in the NL Championship Series, if the Phillies make it.
Braves: Ozzie Albies (fractured right pinkie) will likely not be available before the NL Championship Series. Albies’ only potential contributions now would come as a pinch-runner. The Braves are hoping Strider (strained left oblique) will be available to make at least one start as an opener or potentially serve as a reliever.
Who is hot and who is not?
Phillies: Nick Castellanos, in one of the best games of his Philadelphia tenure, went 3-for-3 with one double and three RBIs in the first four innings in Game 1 against the Braves. He is the second player in Phillies history to have three hits in the first four innings of a postseason game (right-hander Brett Myers was the other, in Game 2 of the 2008 NLCS). … Bryce Harper went 3-for-3 with one double and one walk in Game 1. He might be heating up at the perfect time. He worked a huge walk in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card Series, then added a solo home run in Game 2 in St. Louis. … Domínguez struck out three in two perfect innings. It followed two big strikeouts of Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado in the eighth inning of Game 2 of the NLWCS. Domínguez might have his mojo back after he initially struggled when returned he from the IL last month.
Braves: Matt Olson has homered in six of his past eight games, including each of his past four games at Truist Park. His latest blast nearly ignited a comeback in Game 1. Rest has been beneficial to Ronald Acuña Jr. throughout this year and he certainly looked good while notching three hits in the first game of this series. Dansby Swanson struck out in his first four plate appearances on Tuesday, then drilled a long single in the ninth.
Anything else fans might want to know?
In the history of best-of-five postseason series, Game 1 winners have gone on to win the series 102 of 144 times (71 percent). In Division Series history with a 2-2-1 format, teams winning Game 1 on the road have advanced 29 of 41 times (71 percent).
Phillies vs. Braves NLDS Game 2 starting lineups and pitching matchup – MLB.com