The National League Championship Series, which opens Friday night, matches the team that finished second behind the Braves in the NL East against the team the Braves were four outs from eliminating in Game 4 of the NL Division Series.

It won’t be easy viewing for the Braves.

“It’s not going to be fun watching that series,” manager Brian Snitker said Thursday, the day after his team’s season ended. “I’m not going to lie to you: I don’t know if I will (watch), quite honestly.

“I’ve got a pretty big pit in my stomach right now.”

The NLCS will pit the Washington Nationals, who finished four games behind the Braves in the NL East and trailed them by wider margins most of the season, vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, who beat the Braves 13-1 in NLDS Game 5 after surviving Game 4 in 10 innings. The Nationals eliminated the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 10-inning win in Game 5 of the other NLDS.

“I don’t know how much I’ll actually follow it,” Braves pitcher Mike Soroka said Thursday of the NLCS. “I don’t have (cable) TV at home.”

That issue aside, “It’ll be one of those things where it’s going to be tough to look at, of course, because you know we could have done a lot of things to be there,” Soroka said. “But dwelling on that isn’t going to help anything.”

The teams with the National League’s two best regular-season records – the 106-win Dodgers and the 97-win Braves – didn’t reach the NLCS. The 93-win Nationals and 91-win Cardinals had the league’s third- and fourth-best regular-season records, the Nats reaching the playoffs as a wild card.

“We’re a really good team. We won 99 games this year (including playoffs), and that’s pretty hard to do,” Snitker said. “I guarantee every guy in that clubhouse to this day feels like we are one of the best teams.

“There wasn’t a guy in that room just glad to be here (in the playoffs). Everybody in that room expected to win that first series and for us to be sitting here right now talking about playing a game tomorrow.  And it’s not going to happen, and there’s not anybody that feels good about it.”

General manager Alex Anthopoulos agreed this season’s higher expectations made the ending more difficult.

“I think that’s the difference from a year ago,” said Anthopoulos, comparing this year’s NLDS loss with last year’s. “This year, we just felt this was a much stronger club that was capable of moving on to the (NLCS) and ultimately the World Series. We just believed in the roster that much more. I think players, fans, everybody (did too).

“That being said, you know that come playoff time anything can happen. But what makes this harder is we had a team that was capable of more.”

The GM also said: “I’m stating the obvious here, but we need to get better. That’s what we started to work on today.”

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