PREVIEW: Red October continues as Phils battle Braves



The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 in Game 2 of an NL wild-card baseball playoff series Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in St. Louis. The Phillies advanced to an NL Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THE FIGHTINS! The Philadelphia Phillies have overcome the odds as they waxed the St. Louis Cardinals this past weekend. They now take the flight to Atlanta to face a very familiar opponent in the Atlanta Braves. Here’s everything you need to know prior to this National League Division Series best of five matchup.

The Phillies were definitely seen as underdogs facing the Cardinals by many of those in the baseball world. But much to the chagrin of St. Louis fans, Philadelphia drew similarities to the 2017-2018 Eagles as they pounded the expectations when the lights shined the brightest. Of course this isn’t the same situation as that magical Eagles ride in 2018, but comparisons can be drawn. Not to mention the Eagles didn’t have their best player in Carson Wentz, and while it was questionable throughout the summer if the Phillies would suffer the same fate, Bryce Harper has returned and has showed his competitive juices again in Saturday’s 2-0 series-clinching victory with a mammoth shot going over 435 feet into the Missouri night.

In this matchup against a long-standing rival in Atlanta, the Phillies are again favored to lose by Vegas and this time by a vast amount, but the City of Philadelphia has seen this story before as they look to throw the betting odds out the window. Projections from Fanduel Sportsbook give the “Big A” a pretty massive -186 on their odds to advance to NLCS. However, there’s a viable reason why the Braves are favored so heavily, and it goes beyond last year’s playoff success. This team down south is absolutely loaded. From flourishing rookies, hardened veterans, and prime talents in all of MLB, the Braves have it all.


Probable Starting Pitching matchups

Game 1: ATL Max Fried (185.1 IP, 2.48 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)  vs PHI Ranger Suarez (155.1 IP, 3.65 ERA, 1.33 WHIP)

Game 2: ATL: Kyle Wright (180.1 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) vs PHI Zack Wheeler (153 IP, 2.82 ERA, 1.04 WHIP)

Game 3: ATL Spencer Strider (131.2 IP, 2.67 ERA, .99 WHIP) vs PHI Aaron Nola (205 IP, 3.25 ERA, .95 WHIP)

Games 4 and 5: TBD if needed (Best of 5 series)



 Here are the probable lineups and corresponding statistics heading into this marquee matchup. Ranks are based on respective statistics among each position in all of MLB in the 2022 regular season (AVG= batting average, HR=Home runs, OPS=On base % + Slugging %, OAA= Outs made on defense above average with average being 0 applying to infield and outfield). NQ= not qualified to meet a minimum of 3.1 plate appearances per team game played.



ATL: Travis D’arnaud; .268 AVG (NQ), 18 HR (T-7th), .791 OPS (NQ)

PHI: J.T. Realmuto; .276 AVG (2nd), 22 HR (T-4th), .820 OPS (1st)


First base

ATL: Matt Olson; .240 AVG (15th), 34 HR (5th), .802 OPS (10th), 2 OAA (10th)

PHI: Rhys Hoksins; .246 AVG (12th), 30 HR (8th), .794 OPS (12th), -6 OAA (32nd)


Second base

ATL: Orlando Arcia; .244 AVG (NQ), 9 HR (NQ), .732 OPS (NQ), 2 OAA (22nd)

PHI: Jean Segura; .277 AVG (NQ), 10 HR (NQ), .723 OPS (NQ), 4 OAA (13th)


Third base

ATL: Austin Riley; .273 AVG (9th), 38 HR (1st), .877 OPS (4th), -6 OAA (31st)

PHI: Alec Bohm: .280 AVG (6th), 13 HR (T-14th), .713 OPS (T-17th), -8 OAA (34th)



ATL: Dansby Swanson; .277 AVG (7th), 25 HR (4th), .776 (6th), 20 OAA (1st)

PHI: Bryson Stott; .234 AVG (NQ), 10 HR (NQ), .653 OPS (NQ), -3 OAA (28th)


Left Field

ATL: Eddie Rosario; .212 AVG (NQ), 5 HR (NQ), .587 OPS (NQ), -2 OAA (22nd)

PHI: Kyle Schwarber; .218 AVG (14th), 46 HR (1st), .827 OPS (1st), -13 OAA (40th)


Center Field

ATL: Michael Harris II; .297 AVG (NQ), 19 HR (NQ), .853 OPS (NQ), 7 OAA (9th)

PHI: Brandon Marsh; .245 AVG (NQ), 11 HR (NQ), .679 OPS (NQ), 0 OAA (37th)


Right Field

ATL: Ronald Acuna Jr.; .266 AVG (6th), 15 HR (14th), .764 OPS (9th), -5 OAA (33rd)

PHI: Nicholas Castellanos; .263 AVG (7th), 13 HR (15th), .694 OPS (15th), -11 OAA (38th)


Designated Hitter (New to National League)

William Contreras; .278 AVG (NQ), 20 HR (NQ), .860 OPS (NQ)

PHI: Bryce Harper; .286 AVG (NQ), 18 HR (NQ), .878 OPS (NQ)


Team Batting/Fielding Statistics

Here are the total respective team stats from the 2022 regular season among all teams (AVG= batting average, HR=Home runs, OPS=On base % + Slugging %, OAA=Outs made on defense above average with average being 0 applying to infield and outfield). 

ATL: .253 AVG (T-8th), 243 HR (2nd), .760 OPS (T-2nd), 7 OAA (10th)

PHI: .253 AVG (T-8th), 205 HR (6th), .739 OPS (8th), -36 OAA (29th)


Team Pitching Statistics:

These are the total stats in regard to pitching from the previous season for each team (ERA= Earned run average/9 innings, WHIP= walks plus hits allowed per inning pitched, SO= strikeouts, BAA= batting average against the pitcher).

ATL: 3.46 ERA (5th), 1.19 WHIP (7th), 1554 SO (2nd), .226 BAA (4th)

PHI: 3.97 ERA (18th), 1.26 WHIP (14th), 1423 SO (10th), .245 BAA (16th)


 A team’s roster on paper is one vital slant, but this can undoubtedly be rendered useless once the stage is set in October. Playoff momentum is extremely key. Once game one of the postseason begins, everybody has a 0 next to their name in every statistic. When it comes to the Phillies, they are as scorching hot as can be, coming into this series off of a 2 game sweep of the NL Central division champion Cardinals. However, the Braves are simply more weathered in these elevated pressure situations. They flat out know how to win and are one of the most intuitive organizations in all of baseball. For these reasons, I am taking the superior and deeper on paper Atlanta Braves in 4 total games. However, as a Phils fan I would love to see the electricity of this Red October continue in the City of Brotherly Love.