PHILADELPHIA – For the first time in nearly three weeks, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia is coming to life.
Postseason baseball is back to life for the first time in 11 years.
The National League Division best-of-five series between the Phillies and the Braves is tied 1-1 after sharing two games in Atlanta, setting the stage for Philadelphia’s first home game since Sept. 25, when a foursome ended it. Game split with – guess who? – Atlanta. It will be the Phils’ first postseason home game since Roy Halladay lost a duel to Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS.
“Electric, absolutely,” said Bryce Harper when asked what kind of audience he was expecting. “I expect no less.”
“I was in Philadelphia when it was crazy,” said Atlanta coach Brian Snitker. “When I was a third base coach, every game we played there was crazy. It will obviously be the so-called hostile environment, I think. But the last two nights, the last ones – this whole year – have been crazy here. It’s been like playoff baseball here most of the year, and I don’t think it’s something they haven’t been exposed to. And they’re probably going to feed on it like they feed on our fans here in Atlanta.”
When is the game and how can I see it?
Game 3 takes place today at 4:30pm ET on FS1. All games are available in the US on MLB.TV (requires authentication with a participating pay-TV provider). Live games are also available in select countries outside of the US. For all details click here.
Who are the starting pitchers?
Brave: Atlanta announced Spencer Strider will get the start in Game 3 while veteran Charlie Morton will get the nod in Game 4. The announced rookie has only dropped a hill once since his left oblique muscle began interfering with him in a September 18 start against Philadelphia.
Phillies: Right-hander Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA) will start the Phils’ first postseason home game since Halladay’s aforementioned Game 5 start in the 2011 NLDS. Nola has been doing well lately, throwing 6 2/3 innings scoreless in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series against the Cardinals on Saturday. He also threw 6 2/3 perfect innings before conceding a couple of hits in Houston on Oct. 3 as the Phillies secured the third NL wild card spot. Nola went 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA in five starts this season against Atlanta. He’s 11-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 16 starts against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.
What are the starting positions?
Brave: If the Phillies start another right-hander, look for the Braves to keep their lineup like it was in Game 2. Matt Olson should stay in the #3 hole and Michael Harris II will likely hit sixth, a few spots higher than he has lately against lefties. Marcell Ozuna will also likely serve as designated hitter in place of William Contreras.
Phillies: Although Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins struggled at the front, Rob Thomson made no changes to the line-up. Schwarber is 0-for-16 with two RBIs and eight postseason strikeouts. Hoskins is 1-for-18 with a double and six strikeouts.
Here is the match 3 lineup:
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Brave: With Thursday’s day off, Atlanta should have everyone available in Game 3. Raisel Iglesias, AJ Minter and Kenley Jansen have thrown three goalless innings together as they worked for the first time in more than a week in Wednesday’s Game 2 win. Look for Collin McHugh and Dylan Lee to act as bridges to the high-level guys. Lee is always used when Schwarber or Harper are in line.
Phillies: Right-hander Zach Eflin recently pitched the ninth inning, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be any closer for the rest of the postseason. Eflin allowed Olson a three-run homer in Game 1 in ninth before recording the final two outs to seal a 7-6 win.
“He’s an end-of-game option, not necessarily the ninth inning,” Thomson said. “If his bag turns up in the Ninth, I still have complete faith in him.”
If not Eflin, Thomson could turn to left-hander José Alvarado or right-hander Seranthony Domínguez.
Brave: Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky) probably won’t be available before the NLCS. Albies’ only potential contributions would now come as run-flats. The Braves are hoping Strider (tense left diagonal) will be available to make at least one start as an opener or possibly serve as an assist.
Phillies: Philadelphia lost right-hander David Robertson for the NLDS after straining his right calf while jumping in celebration of Harper’s home run in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series in St. Louis. He had a PRP injection, although it’s unclear if he could serve in the NL Championship Series if the Phillies make it.
Who is hot and who isn’t?
Brave: Olson has homed in six of his last nine games and has gone 3-on-6 with a homer in the first two games of that series. … The calm has served Acuña well all year and he certainly looked good going 4-on-7 with a double in the NLDS. … Swanson is 1-for-8 with five strikeouts.
Phillies: Nola is 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA in his last seven starts, including the postseason. He struck out 51 outs in 41 innings and ran eight. … Harper had nothing to show for in Game 2, but he caught a few balls that died on the warning lane. He hit the ball well in the postseason, going 6-for-14 with three extra base hits and 1,286 OPS. … Schwarber is unsuccessful in his last 33 playoff game plate appearances, which stands for the fifth-longest unsuccessful postseason streak since 1903.
Is there anything else fans would like to know?
The Phillies will have sold out Games 3 and 4 of the NLDS, but the team said fans should keep checking Phillies.com as previously reserved tickets become available.