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What is Happening on the Other Side of the NLDS?

The Diamondbacks are one game away from an improbable sweep of the Dodgers after dominating the LA pitching through two games. If the Diamondbacks win one more game, they will head to the NLCS for the first time since 2007. 

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So, how is the other half of the NLDS going? Who are the Diamondbacks going to play next week? 

Well, had that question been asked during last night’s game in the sixth inning, it would’ve been an easy answer. The Phillies looked like they would run away with Game 2 and take a 2-0 lead on the top-seeded Braves. The Phillies shut out the Braves in game one and were up 4-0 in the sixth inning yesterday. It looked like this series was almost as over as the D’backs one. 

However, the Braves showed life. They scored a run off great baserunning by Acuna in the sixth, then the Phillies left Zach Wheeler in an inning too long, and he allowed a two-run shot to Travis d’Arnaud. Suddenly, a game that was a no-hitter through 5.2 innings was a one-run game. 

Jeff Hoffman was put in the game to pitch to the top of the order. He immediately hit Acuna on the first pitch. This put one of baseball’s most dangerous runners on first. He would advance to second on a groundout, then steal third base. With two outs, Austin Riley would come up to bat. He started 0-2 but battled back and then did this: 

The Braves had the first lead of the series. They would go to the ninth up 5-4 and keep AJ Minter, their setup man in the game, to face Bryce Harper. He would walk and represent the tying run. Minter would come out for infielder Raisel Iglesias, who would get JT Realmuto to fly out. It was Nick Castellanos up next. Castellanos absolutely destroyed the baseball, and it would reach the wall. However, Michael Harris made an incredible leaping catch at the wall on a ball that looked like it could’ve been the game-winner or at least the tying run because Bryce Harper ran. The issue was Harris had a cannon and could get the ball back to the infield, where Harper would get thrown out at first to end the game. If that was confusing, here is the replay. 

Braves win 5-4 to knot the series up at 1-1 and send it back to Philly. So, now the series is anyone’s game. Philly is the hardest road environment in baseball, so that helps. The Phillies will send their ace Aaron Nola out to the mound for the second time this series. Will the Braves do the same with Max Fried? We don’t know yet. The Phillies have the edge here, but Atlanta has the momentum. And you can never calculate how important momentum is in the postseason. 

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