Braves postseason FAQ: Atlanta awaits Miami-Philly winner

October 2nd, 2023

PHILADELPHIA -- Now that the Braves have realized their first goal by winning a sixth straight National League East crown, they will begin looking forward to enjoying a long and enjoyable postseason.

But Atlanta will need to wait before beginning the playoffs. The club gained a bye through the NL Wild Card round and will begin postseason play in the NL Division Series, which begins on Saturday.

The Braves clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason. They will play either the Phillies or the Marlins in the NLDS.

“I feel like I’m playing on the best team from baseball ever,” Braves pitcher Spencer Strider said. “The way these guys go out every day, they’re a model to everybody.”

Two years after winning the World Series as underdogs, the Braves enter this year’s playoffs as the favorites to win the Fall Classic. They were the first team to reserve a spot in this year’s postseason.

“Obviously, we're very grateful to have the opportunity to continue playing in the postseason,” Ronald Acuña Jr. said through an interpreter. “We want to win some games and hopefully win the World Series.”

Armed with one of the most powerful offenses MLB has seen, the Braves spent most of this season’s final four months with a comfortable lead atop the NL East standings.

What could the postseason roster look like?
C: Sean Murphy, Travis d’Arnaud
1B: Matt Olson
2B: Ozzie Albies
SS: Orlando Arcia
3B: Austin Riley
LF: Eddie Rosario
CF: Michael Harris II
RF: Ronald Acuña Jr.
DH: Marcell Ozuna
Bench: INF Nicky Lopez, INF Luke Williams, OF Kevin Pillar, OF Forrest Wall
SP: Max Fried
SP: Spencer Strider
SP: Bryce Elder
RP: Raisel Iglesias
RP: A.J. Minter
RP: Joe Jiménez
RP: Pierce Johnson
RP: Brad Hand
RP: Kyle Wright
RP: Kirby Yates
RP: AJ Smith-Shawver
RP: Jesse Chavez

What will be some of the toughest roster decisions?
Wright (right shoulder inflammation) had been on the injured list since early May before being activated on Sept. 11. He looked rusty in two starts but looked much better while throwing three innings out of the bullpen in the first game of a doubleheader against the Nationals on Sept. 24. He got one more relief appearance on Thursday, allowing one run over 2 1/3 innings. Wright will likely be in the Braves' bullpen for the NLDS.

With Charlie Morton set to miss the NLDS because of a right index finger strain, the Braves will need multiple length options in their bullpen. Wright and Michael Tonkin could fill those needs. Tonkin’s recent struggles may open the door for Smith-Shawver, who impressed with the velocity he showed when he returned to the Majors to make a start on Thursday vs. the Cubs. Elder now seems to be the top candidate to start Game 3 of the NLDS. But he may need to impress during a moderated game held at Truist Park this week.

Who will have home-field advantage?
The opponent with the best regular-season record (by win percentage) will have home-field advantage in every round through the World Series.

The Braves clinched the NL's best record on Wednesday and MLB's best record on Thursday, ensuring that they will have home-field advantage in every postseason series they play.

Who are the potential opponents for the NL Division Series?
The Braves finished with the NL’s top record. This will reserve them a spot in the NLDS, during which they will play a team that advances from the Wild Card round.

Atlanta will play the winner of the WC series that pits No. 4 Philadelphia vs. No. 5 Miami, setting up an NLDS with one of its NL East rivals. The Braves won nine of 13 against the Marlins and eight of 13 against the Phillies.

An NLDS rematch between the Braves and the Phillies would create a lot of excitement. Despite taking three of four in Philadelphia in mid-September, Snitker said the Phils scare him as much as any team.

What is the Braves’ recent postseason history?
2018 -- Lost to Dodgers 3-1 in NLDS
2019 -- Lost to Cardinals 3-2 in NLDS
2020 -- Beat Reds 2-0 in Wild Card Series, beat Marlins 3-0 in NLDS, lost to Dodgers 4-3 in NLCS
2021 -- Beat Brewers 3-1 in NLDS, beat Dodgers 4-2 in NLCS, beat Astros 4-2 in World Series
2022 -- Lost to Phillies 3-1 in NLDS