Phillies vs Braves score: Bryce Harper and Aaron Nola push defending champions to the brink with NLDS Game 3 win

The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Atlanta Braves 9-1 on Friday in Game 3 of their National League Division Series. The Phillies now lead the best of five sets, 2-1, heading into Game 4 on Saturday. Another win and Philadelphia will advance to the NL Championship Series for the right to play for the pennant against the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Diego Padres.

Round three proved to be the key to the match. The Phillies hadn’t mustered a base runner in the first two frames against Atlanta rookie Spencer Strider. Their fortunes changed immediately, as Brandon Marsh worked a four-pitch walk. Jean Segura punched in, but his double play partner Bryson Stott then endured a long nine-pitch at-bat before hitting a right double that opened the scoring.

The Braves would intentionally walk Kyle Schwarber, a move that would immediately backfire. It was because Strider threw a lame fastball down the middle that Rhys Hoskins drilled in for a three-run home run.

Just like that, the Phillies were leading 4-0. They weren’t made there, however. Strider nearly got it, as he would go out after allowing a single to Nick Castellanos on the next pitch. Left-handed reliever Dylan Lee would come in and — wouldn’t you know — hit Bryce Harper his own home run on the first height of his night.

The Phillies, up 6-0 by then, were in total control. It wouldn’t change the rest of the way.

Here are four things to know about the Phillies’ win.

1. Strider returns, collapses

As mentioned in the intro, most of the Phillies damage came against Strider. While he had been one of the best young starters in the majors during the regular season, he hadn’t pitched since Sept. 18 due to an oblique injury. Strider wasn’t even officially named the Game 3 starter until Friday morning.

Strider started the game pretty well, but it became clear that he was losing speed as he struggled to put Stott away due to his hesitant command and sliding speed:

Additionally, the home run Strider threw to Hoskins turned out to be the slowest fastball of his career, indicating that he was wrong.

Given that Strider was presumed to be on a tight count, it was surprising to see no one warming up behind him until the Phillies got on the board. Manager Brian Snitker explained his thinking after the game, suggesting he wanted Strider to get through four innings of work. “As good as he was throwing, we thought we could get through him.”

Who knows, maybe a quicker hook for Strider wouldn’t have made any difference and the Phillies’ bats would have burned anyone on the mound when Hoskins and Harper headed for the plate. But heading into Game 4, the decision to start and stick with Strider on Friday could end up being a regret for Snitker and the Braves if they lose the series.

2. Nola hustle

Strider had a disastrous start. And his counterpart?

Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola pitched 6 2/3 shutout innings in his Wild Card Series start against the St. Louis Cardinals, the first playoff appearance of his career. He does not have enough match that effort on Friday, but it gave the Phillies another high-quality start.

Indeed, Nola worked until the seventh inning, leaving after giving up a first single to Orlando Arcia. His final line saw him throw six one-run innings (unearned), allowing five hits and two walks while hitting six batters on 90 pitches. That means Nola hasn’t allowed an earned run in 12 2/3 innings of the October Ball.

It should be noted that Nola’s speed and spin rates were up on all of his throws compared to his seasonal standards. He generated 15 puffs on 44 pitches, including eight on his spiked curveball. Additionally, 11 of Nola’s 15 batted balls were ground balls.

Add it all up, and the Phillies must be thrilled with Nola’s month to date.

3. What history says about the Phillies’ 2-1 lead

According to our research from Dayn Perry, teams that have taken a 2-1 lead in the LDS round have historically won the series about 75% of the time. It shows the importance of having two tries to close the series, and it suggests the Phillies are in a good position to advance to the next round, whether in four or five games.

4. What’s next

The Phillies will look to knock out defending champion Braves and clinch their tickets to the NL Championship Series on Saturday with a Game 4 victory. playoffs; Philadelphia will counter with Noah Syndergaard. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:07 p.m. ET.

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