Originally scheduled for 4:35pm, Game Two of the NLDS between the Phillies and Braves was never going to start at its planned time. Inclement weather loomed the Atlanta area, but not long enough to rob us of Phillies baseball on Wednesday.
After a three hour delay, the two NL East rivals took the field for a 7:30pm start time, ready for more October baseball.
Coming off of their 7-6 victory on Tuesday afternoon, the Phillies looked to keep the ball rolling behind Zack Wheeler.
Opposing Wheels was 27-year-old right hander Kyle Wright, coming off of his best season to date, posting a 3.19 ERA in 180.1 IP.
Wright kicked things off by sitting the Phillies down in order, including striking out J.T. Realmuto.
Zack Wheeler answered by mowing down the Braves on eight pitches while punching out both Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson. This was very clearly going to be a pitcher’s dual.
Bryce Harper notched the first hit of the game with a double in the second frame, but was left stranded at third base.
The Braves could not muster a hit off Wheels until the bottom of the fourth inning, by way of a Ronald Acuña Jr. single. Fortunately, Acuña Jr. would not move off of first as Wheeler retired the next three Braves in order.
Not much else happened for either team’s offense as we zoomed through the first five-plus innings.
The bottom of the sixth continued to glide by without much drama until Ronald Acuña Jr. returned to the dish with two outs. Wheeler came inside with a fastball and drilled the right-handed hitter on his back elbow, sending the outfielder into an agonizing amount of pain.
However, Acuña Jr. stayed in the game as Dansby Swanson stepped to the plate. After a few minute delay, Wheeler issued a walk to Swanson, moving the go ahead run into scoring position.
Matt Olson stood in next and delivered for the division champs. Olson pulled a ball to the right side and snuck it past Rhys Hoskins to score Acuña and give Atlanta the lead. It appeared to be an error, but was scored a hit.
Things continued to spiral a bit as a weak dribbler down the third base line by Austin Riley scored Dansby and moved the lead to 2-0 in favor of the Braves. Atlanta continued to tack it on with two outs as Travis d’Arnaud singled in Matt Olson. 3-0 Braves.
A.J. Minter relieved Kyle Wright after six stellar innings, and Minter picked up right where the starter left off. The southpaw retired the meat of the Phillies order, meaning the Phils were down to six outs.
Andrew Bellatti relieved Zack Wheeler for the bottom of the seventh inning, as Wheeler’s day was done at 79 pitches. This could keep him in play to start Game Five, should the series reach that point.
Bellatti retired the Braves in order, although Marcel Ozuna is still bat flipping F7s.
Rasiel Iglesias took over for the top of the eighth inning, as the Braves narrowed in on tying up the series. After a Matt Vierling groundout, Jean Segura ripped a single off the left field wall.
Bryson Stott followed that up with a pop up to foul territory in which Austin Riley made a spectacular catch.
AUSTIN RILEY GOING ALL OUT FOR THE DAMN PEOPLE OF ATLANTA pic.twitter.com/IjWrCOZQpn— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) October 13, 2022
Kyle Schwarber dug in next with two down and Segura on first. Iglesias won the battle with Schwarber, striking out the NL home run leader to end the inning.
Onto the bottom half of the eighth inning where Noah Syndergaard took the ball. Thor had not pitched since October 1st, so this was a good chance to get work in before a possible Game Four start.
Syndergaard looked sharp, striking out Acuña Jr. to start the inning. He then forced Dansby Swanson to fly out to left, before issuing a two-out-walk to Matt Olson. Nothing came of the walk, as the former Angel retired Austin Riley to end the inning. To the ninth we go.
Kenley Jansen greeted the Fightins for the ninth inning as Hoskins, Realmuto, and Harper loomed.
Jansen retired the side in order to end the game and tie the series.
People are going to blame this game on Rhys Hoskins, but you can’t win if you can’t score. While the Hoskins blunder was brutal, three hits won’t win you many postseason games.
The Phillies return home for the first playoff game at Citizens Bank Park in eleven years on Friday evening with Aaron Nola on the bump. First pitch is set for 4:37pm.
Red October is coming home to Philly with the series all tied up at one.