The question for Pache always was his offense, which has steadily improved over the past three seasons. He came through for the Braves on Tuesday, earning his first career postseason hit and RBI off Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin. It was his second career hit overall.
At 21 years and 329 days, Pache became the youngest Brave with an RBI in the NLCS since his mentor, Andruw Jones, in 1998. Pache commonly is compared with Jones, who won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves while patrolling the Braves' outfield.
“He’s my mentor,” Pache said. “He was at the game yesterday watching me. I feel extremely grateful that he’s taken the time to help me along. I feel extremely grateful to be compared to him. In my eyes, he’s a legend. Anytime I get compared to him, I feel really grateful for that.”
Pache is one of eight center fielders his age or younger to have an RBI in the postseason. His company, per Elias Sports Bureau: Amos Strunk, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Jones, Bryce Harper and Ronald Acuna.
“He’s developed really physically,” manager Brian Snitker said. “This kid has filled out. He’s a man now. A big, strong kid who has great skills. The offensive part, even in his first full year in Rome, wasn’t great. But as he’s gotten bigger and stronger and played, you see power, a lot of offensive skill. He’s matured. He was a kid when he first started coming to camp and now he’s grown into a man.
"It’s been fun to watch. When you remember seeing this skinny kid running around, and now he’s a big strong guy. It’s been a neat progression watching him develop, grow, learn, mature, the whole thing since he started with us.”
Notes from Wednesday:
- Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman was hit in the right elbow by a pitch from former teammate Alex Wood late in Game 2. Freeman’s elbow felt numb afterward, Snitker said, but he’s OK and was in the Game 3 lineup as expected.
- The Braves adjusted their lineup for Game 3. Johan Camargo, who was added to the roster for Duvall, is playing third while Austin Riley has shifted to left field. Nick Markakis will be on the bench against Dodgers lefty Julio Urias.
- Braves third-base coach Ron Washington spoke with reporters Wednesday morning. The NLCS in Arlington is a homecoming for Washington, who managed the Rangers from 2007-14, leading them to two World Series appearances. He’s been a huge part of the Braves' defensive success, lauded for his instruction and enthusiasm.
Washington was a finalist for the Padres manager job last winter. If the right opportunity comes, he’d like to manage again.
“There’s nothing more joyous than being a leader of a group of guys and watching them grow, become consistent and, hopefully, champions," Washington said. "I had that opportunity here in Texas, thought I had another opportunity that didn’t work out, but of course, I’m always waiting for that GM to interview me and convince the owner that I’m the guy they want to lead their organization to a championship, because in the major leagues, it’s championship or bust.”