The Atlanta Braves find themselves with their backs against a wall as they prepare for NLDS Game 4 in Philadelphia. They either win or go home and the best regular season by a Braves team goes to the wayside.
After the Phillies absolutely destroyed the Braves in Game 3 by a 10-2 final, Philly fans began chanting "We Want Strider" as loud as they could.
This is a common thing that happens when fans feel like they have their opponents on the ropes. Rightfully so. The Braves haven't really done much outside of an incredible comeback in Game 2 at Truist Park.
The Phillies roughed up Spencer Strider in the 2022 NLDS and Philadelphia fans have long said their team owns Strider. Even after Game 2, Philly fans are under the impression that they owned Strider. Despite the fact that they only scored two runs, he lasted 7 innings and struck out 8 batters. I'd hardly call that "owning" him.
However, these are the kind of moments Strider has been preparing his whole life for. He is ready for this moment and will show up prepared to give the Braves a chance at sending this series back to Atlanta.
Strider talked about it in an interview about how these are the things you visualize for yourself as a kid.
"𝗬𝗼𝘂'𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝗹𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 𝘃𝗶𝘀𝘂𝗮𝗹𝗶𝘇𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗳 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗴𝗮𝗺𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗶𝗴𝗴𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗺𝗼𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀."- Spencer Strider
He's getting to live out that dream and finds himself in one of the biggest games of his early career. If he can replicate his performance from Game 2, you like the Braves' chances to force a fifth game.
That will depend on the Braves offense who has scored just 7 runs the entire series. They had 10 hits in Wednesday night's loss at Citizens Bank Park. They were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base.
That is uncharacteristic for a team that seemed to always drive in runs when they needed them the most. So, no matter what Spencer does, if they don't score runs, the Braves can't win.
The Braves clubhouse all believe in Strider's ability to get them back in this series and his opponents know it too.
Bryce Harper talked about just how tough Strider is to face stating, “He's one of the best in baseball. Possible Cy Young this year. I don't know if I've ever said that about a pitcher or anything like that.”
The 20-game winner pitched extremely well against Philadelphia all season long though it was just two games. He only allowed 2 innings through those starts and struck out 18 batters.
He's been good against them in his career so far as well. Through 8 career starts in the regular season, Strider is 8-0 with a 1.90 ERA while facing the Phillies.
However, the postseason is a different beast and those numbers don't really matter. But those numbers should provide any sign of hope Braves fans have been looking for. Strider has the right attitude for this kind of game and he'll be looking to prove he can handle them in the playoffs.
Very similarly to Bryce Harper being built for big moments, Spencer Strider is cut from the same cloth. He is prepared to show up when Atlanta needs him most and the kind of competitor he is can help lead this team to a win in Game 4.