Atlanta Braves Wednesday playoff scenario update
There’s no hiding it: the Atlanta Braves win last night was huge and immediately puts Philadelphia into desperation mode.
No, it’s not over yet, but Philadelphia’s options are shrinking quickly as the Atlanta Braves open a 3.5 games lead with just 5 (possibly 6) more to play.
It wasn’t just that Atlanta won on Tuesday night. It was that Atlanta beat the best pitcher that the Phillies have… the odds-on Cy Young favorite in the National League right now.
Next up for the Phillies is Aaron Nola, who certainly hasn’t pitched as hoped for the Phils this season.
His ERA sits at 4.64, and since August 15, he has given up 4, 2, 2, 6, 3, 3, 1, and 6 runs (27 total)… and only twice has he completed 6 innings or more during that stretch. That amounts to an ERA of nearly 5½ over those 8 starts.
Contrast that with his mound counterpart Max Fried: his last 8 starts have seen opponents score just 10 earned runs (12 overall). Every outing has been for 6 innings or more with a pair of complete games involved. That computes to a 1.64 ERA.
Even after that, Kyle Gibson — the scheduled Thursday starter — has had similar struggles as Nola: since August 11, his earned runs allowed as 6, 3, 1, 0, 8, 3, 4, 3, 4 (32 in 9 starts).
Meanwhile, the Philly offense isn’t helping out enough, either: dating back through their last 3 series (Pirates, Orioles, Mets), then have scored 1 (last night), 0, 3, 8, 12, 4, 3, 0, 2, 5, and 4 runs.
So clearly, the Phillies really needed to win the Tuesday night game.
"“We have to win out. I think that’s pretty much it,” Brad Miller said. “I think it’s cut-and-dry. We take care of business and win out and kind of see what happens, but that’s really all we can do.” (Matt Breen, Philadelphia Enquirer)"
With one more Atlanta victory over the Phils, it will be virtually a lock for the Braves, and even if Atlanta loses both remaining head-to-head games, Philly would still be 1.5 games behind — and 2 games in the loss column.
Atlanta Braves and Phillies fighting for one playoff slot
Meanwhile, the Cardinals clinched the 2nd Wild Card position last night, which closes out the Reds, Phillies, and Braves from thinking about that as a possible backdoor option into the playoffs.
In the case of Atlanta, the Cards have not technically clinched finishing ahead of Atlanta, though for the Braves to lose the division, they would also have to lose enough games so that they would be unable to catch the Cardinals for the Wild Card. Ergo… the Wild Card belongs to the Cards.
All that said, St. Louis will be traveling to a West Coast Wild Card showdown… probably against the Dodgers. The NL West winner (Giants?) will play the winner of that game.
Milwaukee will host the NL East Champion, and any combination of wins by Atlanta or losses from Philadelphia totaling 3 will give the Braves the NL East title.