Doomed, right? Totally doomed. The Braves have not fared very well since the turn of the century when it comes to the ole “winning a playoff series” goal. We’ve not won a deciding game this century. But, we do have some things going for us in this particular one, so here goes:
1. Home Field Advantage
The home team is 8-6 so far in the postseason, and that’s with New York steamrolling Minnesota to a 3-0 sweep. Atlanta was 50-31 at home (.617 winning percentage) vs. 47-34 (.580 winning percentage) on the road. St. Louis was also 50-31 at home, but 41-40 on the road. It doesn’t take much, but all 3 of those things point to the Braves.
Since getting recalled from AAA, he had a 2.65 ERA in 10 regular season starts. On Friday, he delivered a gem: 7 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 7 K. He seems to be on right now, so if you can’t go to Mike Soroka, Mike is a great option.
3. We Got to Flaherty in Game 2
“Getting to” Jack Flaherty is a relative term; 3 runs in Game 2 is hardly an offensive outburst. But in Flaherty’s last 16 regular season starts, he gave up only 3 runs once. He had been hot, and we did enough to get to him.
4. Offense Can’t Continue to Be This Bad… Right?
It’s been well-covered in the comments and recaps. The middle of the order has been putrid. The core of the lineup collectively couldn’t out-hit Rafael Belliard right now. If you believe in the law of averages, you have to think that something will happen. Someone will put a good swing on a ball. For a team that was able to score runs in bunches all year, it’s alarming that there are only 5 crooked numbers in 36 innings of baseball this series.
They’ll also most likely make some tweaks to the lineup. Mark Bowman says that Snit is considering inserting Adam Duvall into the lineup:
And maybe you move Dansby Swanson up in the order a little bit to see if he stays the hot hand.
5. The Bullpen
Jack Flaherty is, by far, St. Louis’ best pitcher. Behind him, you could look at throwing Adam Wainwright in relief, but as far as true relievers go, the options are a little thinner. Andrew Miller has been effective, but Carlos Martinez has not. The advantage definitely goes to Atlanta in terms of the amount of options to go to. And of course, Atlanta could also go to Mike Soroka in relief.