Atlanta Braves: 4 Silver Linings from Disastrous NLDS

The Atlanta Braves suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies last night but we are taking a moment to look at the silver lining of the saddening loss.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Braves led the league in wins, runs, OBP, SLG, OPS, RBI (only team over 900), and hits.
Atlanta was a hitting machine in 2023. They racked up 1,543 knocks on the season with the next closest registering at 1,470 by the Rangers. Only nine teams had over 1,400 on the year.

And... they scored just eight runs in four games of the NLDS against the Phillies. Two straight years the Phillies finished behind Atlanta in the NL East standings and they turn into a postseason monster like Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk.

There has already been plenty of work done to highlight how befuddlingly silent the bats went for one of the most historically great offensive teams ever, so we'll try and find some silver linings for Atlanta fans to take away from the NLDS.

1. Braves Bullpen Shines in NLDS

The bullpen posted a 2.45 ERA throughout the NLDS. Three of the four earned runs given up by Braves relievers were attributed to rookie AJ Smith-Shawver. The usual suspects continued their dominance. AJ Minter, Raisel Iglesias, Kirby Yates, Pierce Johnson, and Joe Jimenez all came to play, combining for zero earned runs in 9.1 innings. Even, rookie Daysbel Hernandez, who was a surprise postseason roster addition, pitched a shutout inning of work.

2. Spencer Strider Continues Ascent to Braves Ace-Hood

Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates
Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

Spencer Strider is on his way to becoming the greatest strikeout pitcher in franchise history. With Max Fried nursing a blister on his finger, Strider assumed the role of Game 1 starter in the NLDS. Nobody seemed worried that Fried wouldn't be available for a Game 1 start because we knew we had Strider ready to go. Strider did not disappoint. While Atlanta lost both of his starts, including the series-clinching Game 4 start, nobody can point a finger at Strider.

Strider pitched 12.2 of the Braves 34.0 innings pitched in the NLDS. He carried the load for Atlanta and he carried it well. The flame thrower struck out 15 hitters over his 12.2 innings and posted a 2.84 ERA. He gave Atlanta a chance to win the game in both of his starts.

He really shined in Game One, pitching seven innings of one-run ball at home. That sort of performance deserved to be rewarded with a win. Last night, he held Philadelphia to three runs over 5.2 innings in an electric Citizen's Bank Park. The young right-hander showed moxie and a dominant fastball.

3. Michael Harris II's Defense

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Michael Harris II had one of the most clutch and memorable defensive plays we will ever see in Game Two. He made another spectacular catch last night in Game Four that looked like it would drop for sure. The crowd thought it would drop, I thought it would drop, and Nick Castellanos thought it would drop. Harris completed the spectacular catch, spun around, slowed to a trot, and casually tossed the ball to second for the force out. Castellanos was nowhere to be found. Great play.

Also Read: Did Braves Fans Register as Seismic Activity After Game 2 Win?

4. Austin Riley Raked in NLDS

The Braves hit just .186 with a .519 OPS in the NLDS. The individual numbers were bad. But, here's the good news. We had one guy who hit well and that was Austin Riley. Not only did he provide the go-ahead homer in the legendary Game Two victory. He also hit two of the Braves' three homers in the series. Riley hit .353 with a .706 SLG in the series. He was the only bat worth highlighting...Read about how bad the bats were here.

That's about all I got. Let's face it, the series mostly stunk. At least the Braves are good and give us something to root for six months each year. At least they have the core locked up for years to come. Let's lick our wounds and prepare for pitchers and catchers to report in a few months.