Braves look to put postseason woes, Game 4 behind them
Marietta, Ga. – Ahead of Game 5 of the National League Division Series, Atlanta Braves skipper Brian Snitker met with media to discuss where the team is after returning home to finish the first round of the playoffs.
Needless to say, everything is playing in Atlanta's favor.
Mike Foltynewicz – who tossed seven innings of shutout baseball in Atlanta's 3-0 win Oct. 4 – will get the nod once again for the Braves. His opposition is Jack Flaherty, who was the St. Louis Cardinals' Game 2 starter.
Yes, Atlanta split its first two at home and split again in St. Louis. But the past is just that: the past.
"I think this generation of players is really good at separating things," Snitker said. "As long as I've been here, they're really good about turning the page and today is a new day.
"They live it. It was a tough loss two days ago, but I'm confident that our guys will be ready to go and we'll lay it out there for 3 1/2 hours, or whatever it is today."
The Braves/Cards match-up has been a roller coaster of emotion for both teams. Atlanta led Game 1 until the eighth inning, when St. Louis thundered ahead. The Braves homered twice in a rally bid in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately came up one run short.
St. Louis' offense was cooled off in Game 2 and Atlanta's offense seemed to be in the same shape for Game 3, until a pair of clutch two-outs hits from Dansby Swanson and Adam Duvall pushed the Braves to a 2-1 lead.
Game 4 proved to be another heartbreaker for a fanbase – in this instance, Atlanta took the loss – thus, Game 5 is primed to be another thriller.
"I know this has been as exciting as anything I've been through," Snitker said. "I'm sure today will be no different."
Discussing a Phenom
One key piece of Atlanta's puzzle all year has been the rise of Ronald Acuna, Jr.
He shined in last year's NLDS by becoming the youngest player in MLB history to hit a grand slam in the playoffs – surpassing Mickey Mantle – and looked to be on his way to a 40/40 season this year before suffering a mild injury in September.
Much has been written and talked about concerning Acuna's discipline, which has seen some effortless trips around the basepath after making solid connections. But his hustle in the outfield and his power at the plate – including a 2-run homer in Game 1 – does little to catch Snitker off-guard.
"He hasn't surprised me; I don't think I'm going to be surprised at what this kid is capable of doing," Snitker said. "It's pretty cool to see that he's trumped last year's (NLDS). I'm not surprised; he's really showing the world what he's capable of under these circumstances."
Duvall in, Joyce out
After four-straight starts for Matt Joyce, Snitker swapped the veteran outfielder with another.
Adam Duvall is getting the starting nod in left field, his first of the postseason. Duvall has came up with two timely hits for Atlanta thus far in the NLDS, including a pinch-hit homer in Game 2 and the go-ahead, 2-run winning single in Game 3.
"He has a good record against Flaherty," Snitker said of the switch. "Who knows if it (his momentum) will last, but he's had some big hits for us, so we'll try it."
Overcoming the hump
Atlanta will be playing in its first NLDS Game 5 since 2004, when they lost to the Houston Astros. Since then, the Braves have been eliminated in Game 4 by the Astros (2005), Giants (2010) and the Dodgers (2013, 2018).
First pitch is at 5:02 p.m. and the game will be telecast on TBS.