Why the Atlanta Braves Have the Upper Hand in Game 3 of NLDS Playoffs

We break down the potential NLDS Game 3 matchups and why the Atlanta Braves might have the advantage despite being on the road in a hostile environment.
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves
Chicago Cubs v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Braves announced Spencer Strider and Max Fried as their starters for the first two games of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies. They remain mum on Game 3, but it appears Bryce Elder is in line for the start. We take a look at the Braves starting pitching options for Game 3 and why Atlanta might have the advantage in Game 3 over the Phillies.

Who Will Start Game 3 of NLDS for the Braves?

As of right now, the Braves have not announced their Game Three starter. It appears Bryce Elder is the likely option to start. Elder posted a 3.81 ERA. Over his final 14 starts of the year, he had a 5.75 ERA and gave up 13 earned runs over his final 12.2 innings. The Braves opted to give the youngster a breather in the final week rather than make his last scheduled start in the final game of the season.

Prior to 2023, the most innings Elder had pitched in a season was 137.2 back in 2021. This year he blew past his career high by pitching in 174.2 innings. Hopefully, fatigue had something to do with his second-half struggles and the extra rest will have a positive effect on Bryce.

The Braves could opt to go with rookie AJ Smith-Shawver or perhaps he will serve as long relief for Elder in Game three.

Who Will Start Game 3 of NLDS for the Phillies?

Aaron Nola
Wild Card Series - Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

Nola has momentum. His last start sealed the Wild Card win over the Marlins. The big stage of the postseason brought out the best in Nola as he slammed the door on the fish with seven shutout innings.

While he didn't have his best season, he still posted a 4.46 ERA with a 12-6 record. Nola was a horse for the Phillies, covering 193.2 innings this season and posting a rock-solid 1.15 WHIP.

Why The Atlanta Braves Have the Advantage in Game 3

Regardless of his recent performances, Bryce Elder was an All-Star this season. His 3.81 ERA is lower than Spencer Strider's 3.86.

Matt Olson
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game One / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Aaron Nola is allowing homers at a career-high rate in 2023 at 1.49 per nine innings. Nola allowed the sixth-most homers in Major League Baseball. This is bad news for the Phillies considering this Braves team tied the single-season mark for most team homers in a season. Nola had a 3.50 ERA against the Braves this season but Elder had a 3.38 ERA against the Phillies.

The Braves have proven their offense is great enough to overcome starting pitching deficiencies this season. Nola and his propensity to allow the long ball will face a lineup with five guys with 30+ homers in 2023.

My first inclination was to worry about the Game 3 matchup but the more I look at it, the more I like it the odds.

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