The Atlanta Braves won Game 2 of the NLDS in dramatic fashion. It was one of the most memorable postseason games you will ever see. If the Braves were indeed in a lull from all the time off between the regular season and the NLDS, they woke up halfway through this game.
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Braves Offense Sets Season-Long Scoreless Innings Streak to Begin Postseason
The lull was severe. After being shutout in Game 1, Zack Wheeler held Atlanta scoreless through the first 5.2 innings of the game. The longest the Braves went during the regular season was 13 consecutive innings. They went scoreless in their first 14.2 innings to begin the 2023 postseason. Lull.
Max Fried continued his struggles against the Phillies. Max took 95 pitches to get through four innings while allowing three earned runs on six hits and four walks.
The bullpen didn’t allow an earned run in relief. Kirby Yates, Joe Jimenez, Pierce Johnson, AJ Minter, and Raisel Iglesias combined for five clutch innings to keep Atlanta in this game.
The Braves Offense Awakened
The offense finally woke up in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to Ronald Acuna Jr.’s speed. Ozzie Albies lined a single to right field, moving Acuna from first to third. On the throw to the infield, Trea Turner flubbed the catch and allowed Acuna to score, giving Atlanta it’s first run of the game. The score was 4-1.
Zack Wheeler was still pitching in the bottom of the seventh when Travis d’Arnaud stepped up with one out. d’Arnaud entered the game with a .381 average vs. Wheeler in his career. He ripped a two-run homer off Wheeler to make it a one-run game. The score was 4-3.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Austin Riley muscled a breaking ball over the leftfield wall to give Atlanta a late one-run lead, 5-4.
Michael Harris II and Austin Riley Make Unforgettable Play to End Game 2
left-handed setup man AJ Minter stayed in to face Bryce Harper in the top of the ninth, after a shutout eighth inning. He walked Harper. The Braves called upon their closer Raisel Iglesias. With one out in the ninth inning, the go-ahead run was at the plate and then history happened.
Michael Harris II made a spectacular leaping grab against the wall to give the Braves two outs and save the game. Then we quickly realized, Harper thought that ball was getting down. He thought there was no way Harris was catching that ball. Harper had rounded second base by the time Harris made the play, setting up one of the most unique double plays in baseball history.
Harris rocketed the ball in from centerfield as Austin Riley came charging from third base shouting at Ozzie Albies to throw to first for the double play. Ozzie Albies missed the ball but luckily, Austin Riley was was there with all his momentum running toward first base. Riley has a cannon and he unleashed it to first to beat Harper and to end the game.
It was the first time an outfielder was involved in a game-ending double play in postseason history. It was also the first 8-5-3 double play in postseason history, period.
Previewing Game 3 of the NLDS, Series Tied 1-1
The Braves will travel to Philadelphia for Game 3. Aaron Nola will take the mound for the Phillies. The Braves have not announced a starting pitcher yet. We think it might be Bryce Elder with AJ Smith-Shawver waiting in the wings. While many have looked at Game 3 as a real troubling matchup, I actually think the matchup favors the Braves.