Game Preview: Braves look to take game one of NLDS against the Phillies

The NL East divison's top two regular season teams will square off in the NLDS. The division winning Atlanta Braves will host the reigning NL champion Philadelphia Phillies tonight at Truist Park.
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

With the NLDS roster's set for both clubs, it is finally time for playoff baseball. The Braves and Phillies offer perhaps the most exciting matchup on paper in the division series as the familiarity and history between these two clubs should produce a lot of fireworks.

We're just as excited as everyone else, so we won't waste anymore time. Let's dive right into everything you need to know ahead of game one!

The Braves look to love Michael Harris II in the six spot, no matter what pitcher is on the mound. As they did throughout the regular season Pillar will get the start in left field with Suárez on the hill. Murphy batting eighth isn't something we would've expected earlier this year, but given the way he slowed down in the second half it isn't much of a surprise.

However, it is a bit of a surprise to see the normally Albies-Riley-Olson trio switched around. In this lineup Ozzie is dropped to cleanup and Riley moves up to the two hole, with Olson batting third. My initial guess is Snit wants to punish anyone willing to bring a lefty in against Olson with Ozzie behind him ready to do damage.

Pitching matchup for Braves vs. Phillies

With the Phillies having to play a best of three against the Marlins in the wild card round, it's no secret the Braves have a huge pitching advantage on paper for game one of the NLDS. That is why it is impairative for Atlanta to get off to a good start and get the crowd at Truist rocking.

The Braves announced yesterday that 20 game winner and their all-time single season strikeout leader, Spencer Strider will be on the mound for game one. Strider put together an amazing 2023 regular season in which he led the league in strikeouts (281), wins (20), and FIP (2.85). All season I've seen the Rhys Hoskins bat spike more times than I care to count, so it would be some of the sweetest revenge if Strider could go out and dominate like we know he can.

The Phillies lineup presents an abundance of challenges to say the least. Schwarber and Harper of two of the most feared power hitting lefties in the sport. On top of that, keeping the likes of Realmuto, Castellanos, Bryson Stott, and Braves killer Trea Turner in check is a HUGE task.

Because the Phillies were in the wild card round, they pitched their two horses (pun intended) in games one and two. Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola handled the Miami lineup and advanced them to the NLDS. That means Philadelphia will be throwing left-handed starter Ranger Suárez in game one.

Ranger had another good season in 2023 going 4-6 with a 4.18 ERA and 3.90 FIP in 22 starts. However, the Braves typically hit lefties well so it is very important they take advantage of this matchup and continue to be the historic offense they were all of the regular season.

Hitter to Watch

We have talked about it all year, but this Braves lineup features a plethora of productive hitters to choose from. There is no shortage of choices as I attempt to land on someone who could make leave thier postseason print on game one. But because of the matchup, I'm going with one of the best hitters against lefties in all of baseball, Ozzie Albies to have a good game.

Albies had a strong finish to the 2023 regular season, and has notoriously been one of the best hitters from the right-hand side in all of baseball. Ozzie has had his share of postseason moments, but I think a big game one will remind some of those across baseball that he is one of the top second baseman in the game.

How to watch Braves vs. Phillies - 10/7/23

Date/Time/Location: 10/7/2023 at 6:07 PM EST at Truist Park


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