1. The magic number is down to two.
After everything – offseason work, spring training, early-season injuries, a lengthy regular season and what comes with it – the Braves can capture another division crown on Wednesday.
“It feels like we’re anxiously awaiting or anticipating the celebration,” Eddie Rosario said through interpreter Franco García. “I feel very lucky. … Ever since I’ve gotten to Atlanta, I feel like we’ve done a lot of celebrating.”
The Braves haven’t clinched the division prior to the 150th game of a full 162-game season since 2002, when they locked it up in the 142nd game. Last season, the Braves didn’t win the division until the penultimate game of the season.
Wednesday is the Braves 146th game.
“Obviously, you want to do that as quickly as possible,” Austin Riley said. “At the same time, I think we just got to come out here and play our game. That’s a really good ballclub over there. I don’t care what anybody says, they fight until the end with a lot of good players. We got (Spencer) Strider on the mound tomorrow, so it should be a fun one. I look forward to it. It’s what you come to the yard for.”
2. When Eddie Rosario faced Craig Kimbrel with a man on third in the top of the 10th, he figured Kimbrel would throw him breaking balls. This seemed to be Philadelphia’s game plan versus Rosario.
“After I fouled off a few more (pitches), I said, ‘Forget it, I’m just gonna look for the fastball,’ and there it was,” Rosario recalled.
On the eighth pitch of the at-bat – a 96 mph fastball at the top of the zone – Rosario singled into right field. He ran down the line and flipped his bat in excitement after breaking the tie.
This was the deciding run.
“It’s kind of what I feel like we’ve done all year,” Riley said. “We battle, we battle. We’re not trying to do too much. In those big moments, that’s all you can do. That was a huge hit for us.”
For the second time in as many days, Raisel Iglesias served up a game-tying homer. On Tuesday, Trea Turner took him deep in the ninth.
But Rosario came to the rescue in the 10th, and Brad Hand earned his first save of the season.
“It’s fun to get the win, most important, and the save,” said Hand, who was once one of the game’s top closers. “To do it against the team that I was with last year was even better.”
3. A couple hours before the game, Braves manager Brian Snitker commented on the history his team consistently makes. Individual accomplishments. Team statistical feats.
“We’re having some kind of year, that’s for sure,” Snitker said. “I’m glad they let me tag along for the ride, let’s put it that way.”
In this win, Matt Olson hit his 51st homer to tie Andruw Jones for the Braves’ single-season franchise record.
And with three homers in the game, the Braves set the record for most home runs in a season by a National League team. The 2019 Dodgers blasted 279 home runs, and the Braves have 281. The 2019 Twins own the overall MLB record, with 307.
Of tying a record, Olson said: “It’s a cool feeling. Obviously watched (Andruw) him growing up and know the kind of player he was, so it’s cool to be now mentioned with him.”
Of the team’s record, Riley said: “Those (kinds of records) are cool. I’m here for the wins. That was even sweeter.”
4. Max Fried held a powerful lineup to a run over five innings.
Since returning from the injured list in early August, he’s 5-0 with a 2.96 ERA in eight starts.
5. The Braves and Phillies have played three games here. All three have been exciting – or anxiety-inducing, for those playing and coaching in them.
None of the three games has been decided by more than two runs. Two have gone to extra innings.
“It’s what you expect coming in here,” Snitker said. “This team scares me as much as any team in the game, quite honestly, (with) the firepower and what they got. As we saw right there, if they got a strike left, they’re dangerous. When you come in and play good teams like this, you expect it to not be easy, and it never is.”
Stat to know
7-2 - The Braves are 7-2 in extra-innings games this season.
“That’s why we play this game. It’s an exciting time of year, and everybody is aware of it. And that’s kind of special that you get to experience that.” - Snitker on the magic number being down to two
In Wednesday’s series finale, Spencer Strider will face left-hander Christopher Sanchez and the Phillies. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m.