Atlanta Braves: 2 NLDS Matchups if Postseason Started Today

Breaking down the Atlanta Braves' potential pathways through the postseason. Analyzing which two teams the Braves would face in the NLDS and which one would be a better matchup for Atlanta.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game One / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies - Pitching Breakdown

Zack Wheeler
Philadelphia Phillies v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

While the disadvantage of having to use the starters in the Wild Card round didn't slow down the Phillies last year, you still have to give the advantage to the Braves. It's up to the teams to execute.

As we discussed earlier, Zack Wheeler is having a Cy Young-worthy season in 2023. Aaron Nola leads the team in games started but has posted a 4.64 ERA this year. He has his moments, both good and bad. On August 27 Nola went spun seven shutout innings with nine strikeouts against the Cardinals. He wouldn't make it five innings in either of his next two starts. Nola has five career postseason starts under his belt with a 4.91 ERA and a 2-2 record.

Ranger Suarez and Christopher Sanchez have both posted sub-4.00 ERAs but have 19 and 15 starts respectively. Sanchez has been a regular in the rotation since mid-June. Sanchez has only had one start in which he allowed more than three earned runs.

Of course, we remember Ranger Suarez from last year's NLDS. Suarez opened the game with Nola and Wheeler in need of rest from the first round. Suarez struck out five in 3.1 innings of one-run work. He also walked five in that start but the Phillies claimed the unlikely "W" over Max Fried and the Braves.

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies Team Comparisons - SP rWAR

Atlanta Braves: 3.7 SP rWAR (5th in MLB)

Philadelphia Phillies: 4.9 rWAR (3rd in MLB)

Advantage: Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies - RP rWAR

Atlanta Braves: 2.4 rWAR (3rd in MLB)

Philadelphia Phillies: 1.1 rWAR (9th in MLB)

Advantage: Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies - Team ERA

Atlanta Braves: 3.91 ERA (6th in MLB)

Philadelphia Phillies: 4.03 ERA (13th in MLB)

Advantage: Atlanta Braves

The Phillies edge the Braves in SP WAR but the Braves have allowed fewer runs per nine innings and ultimately, that's what matters most. The Braves have a very solid and reliable top four this year with Fried, Strider, Morton, and Elder. The Phillies rotation is nothing to sneeze at (that's a weird thing to do anyway). They boast the sort of depth they will need to take on the Braves immediately following a Wild Card series against the Cubs.

The Phillies bullpen is led by former Braves legend Craig Kimbrel, who is adding another nice season to his resume. Kimbrel has 23 saves and 82 strikeouts in 61.0 innings. Just looking at how even the pitching matchups are makes me hope to see the Cubs in the NLDS rather than the Phillies.

Next, we'll take a look at the Philadelphia offense.