The Atlanta Braves will play the third game of their best of five National League Division Series against the Miami Marlins on Thursday. The Braves lead the series 2-0 following a 2-0 victory on Wednesday in Game 2. Travis d’Arnaud continued his hot hitting with a solo home run in the fourth for Atlanta, while Dansby Swanson also went yard with a solo shot in the second inning. Starting pitcher Ian Anderson threw 5 ⅔ innings of shutout baseball allowing just three hits while striking out eight and walking just one.
Miami is in a big hole down 2-0 and must win each of the next three games to move on to the National League Championship Series or be eliminated. In Game 2, Miami managed just three hits, with just one being an extra base, when Brian Anderson doubled in the first. Pablo Lopez threw five innings allowing two runs on three hits while striking out seven but received zero run support from Marlins hitters who were just 3-for-31.
Pitching Takes Center Stage for BravesAtlanta pitchers threw 22 consecutive innings of shutout baseball against Cincinnait in the wild card series and while they gave up five runs on Tuesday in Game 1, they came back strong in Game 2 allowing just three hits. Between starter Anderson and four relievers, the Braves had 11 strikeouts and just two walks. The Braves during the regular season were 15th in earned run average at 4.41 but through two games of this series are 3.12. Braves pitching allowed just three hits in 31 official at bats for an average of just .096 for Marlins hitters. Kyle Wright gets the start on the mound for Atlanta on Thursday. The 25-year old right-hander this season was 2-4 with a 5.21 ERA, 30 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.55. Atlanta has won each of Wright’s last 3 starts with the most recent on September 25th when the right-hander pitched 6 ⅔ innings allowing two runs on two hits.
At the plate on Wednesday, Travid d’Arnaud and Dansby Swanson provided all the runs necessary with a solo home run apiece. d’Arnaud in his first season with Atlanta, after playing last season with three teams, hit his second home run in as many games, as did Swanson. Atlanta managed just four hits but two were round trippers and put them up 2-0 in the series and with a chance to sweep the series on Thursday and reach the National League Championship Series to face the winner of the series between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Marlins Hitters Handcuffed by Braves PitchingMiami during the regular season hit .244 as a team which was 17th in the league and scored 263 runs, but on Wednesday in Game 3, the Marlins managed just three hits with one double and two singles in 31 official at-bats giving them an atrocious .096 batting average for the game. Marlins hitters struck out 11 times, including two strikeouts each by Corey Dickerson, Jesus Aguilar, Miguel Rojas and Matt Joyce. Brian Anderson continues to hit well with an average of .667 in the postseason to lead the Marlins and was one for two with a walk.
Marlins pitching was above-average in the loss as Pablo Lopez gave up just two runs on three hits with both of those runs coming on Braves homers. Three Marlins relievers, who threw one inning each, allowed just one hit and no runs while striking out three. Starting on the mound in Game 3 for Miami will be Sixto Sanchez. The 22 year old right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.46 ERA, 33 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP. The Marlins have lost two of the last three starts by Sanchez, but in the right-hander's most recent start, Miami defeated Chicago 2-0 in the Wild Card series and Sanchez pitched five innings allowing four hits and no runs.
- Miami is 1-6 in the last seven against a team from the National League East
- The Marlins are 1-6 in the last 7 against Atlanta
- Atlanta is 9-3 in the last 12 overall
- The Braves are 6-2 in the last 8 postsea