NLDS Series Preview: Can the Phillies dethrone the Braves?

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper (3) reacts after hitting a solo home run during the second inning in Game 2 of a National League wild-card baseball playoff series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

The divisional series between the Phillies and Braves isn’t a tale of David versus Goliath, but the Phils have a giant test ahead in Atlanta.

Familiar Foe for the Phillies

Following their Wild Card victory over the Cardinals, the Phillies will face the divisional foe Braves in a best-of-five divisional series.

Atlanta, who captured the NL East crown for the fifth straight season this year, finished the season with 101 wins, tied for the third-highest win total in the league. Additionally, the Braves enter the playoff race with an air of confidence that can only be acquired through championship glory.

Aiming for the crown

Fresh off their first World Series pennant since 1995, the Braves are once again poised for postseason success. Even with former MVP Freddie Freeman leaving town, the Braves boast one of the most balanced, talented lineups in the league.

With power abound throughout the lineup, the home run-happy Braves hit 243 homers in 2022, the second-most in the league. Against a Phillies team that allowed the fifth-fewest home runs in the league, perhaps the power of Atlanta will be neutralized.

Furthermore, the Braves went through an uncharacteristic dry spell at the plate in which they struggled to go deep.

In the season’s final month, the Braves lost their first seven games in which they did not hit a home run. They went 1-7 down the stretch when they failed to hit a home run.

There are a variety of ways to win a baseball game, but the Braves lack of pop down the stretch will certainly be something to monitor in this matchup.

Power Pitchers

One way the Braves can overcome any shortcomings at the plate is stellar pitching. Atlanta has one of the best bullpens in the league and a starting rotation that shouldn’t be overlooked either.

On the season, the Braves allowed the fifth-fewest total runs, a testament to the strength of their pitching staff.

Tale of the Tape

Here is a quick look at how the two NL East powerhouses stack up.

Philadelphia Phillies

Although the Phillies narrowly made the postseason, they boast one of the most fearsome lineups in the playoff picture. Backed by a top-heavy starting rotation, the Phils have as good a chance as any Wild Card team to win it all. Here’s a snapshot of their 2022 season:

Pitching Stats
• 18th in ERA (3.97)
• 10th in strikeouts (1,423)
• 23rd in bullpen ERA (4.27)

Batting Stats
• 7th in runs (747)
• 6th in home runs (205)
• 5th in steals (105)
• 8th in batting average (.253)
• 9th in on-base percentage (.317)

Atlanta Braves

The reigning World Series champs Braves begin their title defense against a familiar foe in Philly. Eager to prove they aren’t a one-year wonder, and with star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. healthy for this year’s playoff run, the Braves are to bring their A-game against Philly.

Here’s a glance at their 2022 season through the numbers:

Pitching Stats
• 6th in MLB in ERA (3.46)
• 2nd in strikeouts (1,554)
• 4th in bullpen ERA (3.03)

Batting Stats
• 3rd in runs (789)
• 2nd in home runs (243)
• 15th in steals (87)
• 9th in batting average (.253)
• 10th in on-base percentage (.317)


In 19 games played against Philly this season, the Braves finished with an 11-8 record. Four of the eleven Philly losses were decided by two runs or less.

Going back even further, over the last three seasons, the Braves and Phillies have met 48 times in the regular season. Atlanta posted a 26-22 record during those games, proving just how evenly matched the divisional foes are.

Series schedule

The NLDS is a best-of-five series. Games 1 and 2 will be in Atlanta and Game 3 in Philadelphia. If necessary, Game 4 would be in Philly, and Game 5 back in Atlanta.

  • Game 1 is on Tuesday at 1:07 p.m.
  • Game 2 is on Wednesday at 4:35 p.m.
  • Game 3 is Friday
  • Game 4 would be Saturday, October 15, if necessary
  • Game 5 Sunday, October 16, if necessary.

Times for Games 3-5 have yet to be determined.

How to Watch

All National League playoff games during the 2022 MLB postseason games will air on FOX and Fox Sports 1. 

You can stream the NLDS live online with FOX and, or through the FOX Sports app. You can also stream the MLB postseason live on FuboTV (free trial).

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Scott Kane