Strong starting pitching, great defense and timely hitting were the ingredients for the recipe of success Wednesday night for the Atlanta Braves, as they shutout the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 in Game 2 of the National League Divisional Series at Truist Park. The NLDS is now tied at one game apiece. It was the Braves’ ninth shutout in postseason play since 2019.
The game began at 7:30 PM Eastern Time after a two-hour, 55-minute rain delay. Including the postseason, the Braves are 6-3 at Truist Park against the Phillies.
“I’ll be honest, I applaud Major League Baseball because I really sat in on all the meetings,” Atlanta Braves Manager Brian Snitker said. “Both myself, [and Philadelphia Phillies Manager Rob Thompson], and the GMs and everything; I thought they did a great job at hanging in there and when we came out of those meetings, we could let these guys know what was going on with it and the timeframe. So you know, like, we didn’t spring anything on them and we gave them plenty of time. Like I say I applaud Major league baseball for how they handled this.”
After five innings of shutout baseball, the Braves bats woke up. Atlanta center fielder Ronald Acuña Jr. led off the sixth inning and was hit by a Zack Wheeler pitch on the inside of his elbow. After a few minutes to digest the pain, Acuña Jr. would stay in the game. With two outs, Braves first baseman Matt Olson slapped a single to right field. The ball was deflected off of the glove of Philadelphia first baseman Rhys Hoskins. Acuña Jr. would score, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead.
Atlanta third baseman Austin Riley would also hit a single, which would score Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson. Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud would also hit a single which would score Olson, giving Atlanta a 3-0 lead.
“I think it’s the beauty of playing baseball,” Swanson said. “I mean everything kind of goes out the window at this time of the year and you just kind of find ways to make things happen. Today, Ronnie with the hit by pitch, my walk and then Olsen putting together a great at bat and same thing with Riley. And then Travis’s hit. An inning is never over. Tonight was an example of that.”
That margin would be more than enough for Braves starting pitcher Kyle Wright. In six scoreless innings, Wright allowed only three hits, one walk, and struck out six Phillies in six innings of work. He threw 83 pitches.
“I think the biggest thing is when you get a start like Kyle’s, putting that six innings of work in was huge,” Snitker said.
Zack Wheeler took the loss for Philadelphia and Braves closer Kenley Jansen shut the door, earning the save.
It was an all-around great performance by the Braves tonight and the defense was highlighted by Swanson’s diving catch in the top of the sixth inning.
“I was trying to throw a flag on myself because I feel like I made it look way harder than it needed to be,” Swanson explained. “I was running out there and I felt like maybe it was because it was a breaking ball, but it kind of kept spinning away from me. And I slowed down just enough to check Rosario to see where he was so that we didn’t, you know, have a collision and once he just kind of looked at me like ‘Hey, brother, it’s yours or nobody’s,’ so I went for it.”
With the loss, this is the first time Philadelphia has been shutout in the postseason since losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.
Snitker was non-committal regarding who he’d start in Friday’s game at Citizens Bank Park. However, he knows the game will have a raucous, intense and rabid atmosphere.
“Now I’ve been in Philly when it’s crazy,” Snitker explained. “I know when I was third base coach, every game we played there was nuts. And it’s going to and these guys are used to it. I mean, you know what’s going to be the, I guess the so called hostile environment obviously. And I don’t think it’s anything that they haven’t been exposed to and probably they’ll feed off it like they feed off our fans here in Atlanta.”