Brave vs. Phillies takeaway: Atlanta tie NLDS behind bit of Olson, Riley, and d’Arnaud

The Atlanta Braves ran a two-out rally against Philadelphia Phillies ace Jack Wheeler in the sixth inning, plus Kyle Wright’s excellent pitching to make it a 3-0 second leg. That victory equalizes a best-of-five NL Division Series in a game. The series now moves to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Friday. The winner of this series will advance to the NLCS and face the Dodgers or Padres. Now for some takeaways from Game 2. Kyle Wright throws the jewel. After Max Fried’s shaky outing in Game 1, the Braves needed a good outing for Game 2 starter Kyle. light. he gave it to them Wright threw six innings clean against the Phillies, allowing two hits, striking out six, and allowing only one walk in the process. 52 of his 83 pitches were strikes. When choking the Phillies, Wright relied heavily on fastballs and curves and also mixed sinkers. In Game 2, this was essential, as Wright’s four-seam had dropped to full speed compared to his regular season average fastball speed. In terms of Game Score, a quick and dirty Bill James metric that measures a pitcher’s dominance or lack of power at a given start (50 is average and 90+ is absolute gem), Wright put it up 73. During the regular season, he surpassed that figure only twice, and those two starts were against Philadelphia and two unparalleled lineups, the Pirates and Marlins. Zack Wheeler dominated as much as he did in his wild card series starts against the Cardinals, striking out 25 on just one walk in three starts against Atlanta during the regular season. In Game 2 on Wednesday, in a similar vein, he struck out five, one walked and four hits in six innings. When the Braves put these three points on the board in the sixth inning, they didn’t square him and instead dealt damage to a well-placed ground dodging the Philadelphia infield defense. The Braves collected an unlikely big inning in the sixth. Speaking of which, the Braves could have saved the series with that floor in the bottom of the 6th. The five straight runners reached base with two outs, something the Braves accomplished just five times in their 162-game regular season. Wheeler sent off the first two batters of the frame, but Ronald Acuña Jr. reached when Wheeler’s pitch punched a hole in his right elbow. Then Dansby Swanson walked, and Matt Olson singled Acuña from the poolside ground that first baseman Rhys Hoskins could not secure. Austin Riley maintained the theme by hitting Wheeler a smooth dribble down the third base line that scored Swanson. Finally, Travis d’Arnaud picked a ground ball from the center to bring Olson home with the third and final run of the game. That was enough margin for the Atlanta bullpen. Kyle Schwarber’s Struggle Continues During the regular season, Schwarber was Philly’s strength as he posted 130 OPS+ and led the NL with 46 home runs. But these playoffs aren’t friendly to him yet. He went 7-0 with 4 strikeouts in a wild card series against St. Louis, and went 0 with 5 hits in Game 1 against the Braves. Add to what he did in a Game 2 loss (three strikeouts and four strikeouts) and he’s now 16 hits, zero hits and eight strikeouts in the 2022 postseason. Needless to say, the Phillies need the best sluggers to get their levels back at home. Now essentially a best-of-two series series tied 1-1, this NLDS is now essentially a best-of-three event that retains the Phillies’ home field advantage (Games 3 and 4 are between Citizens Bank Park and Game 5). He will return to the Atlanta suburbs if necessary.The Phillies co-ace Aaron Nola will decide which host will face the Atlanta starting pitcher in Game 3 on Friday. The big question is whether rookie right-hander Spencer Strider will be able to start. He’s on the Braves’ NLDS roster after missing mid-September with an oblique injury.
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