Starting Bryce Elder wasn’t a problem. Sticking with him too long proved detrimental to the Braves, who are now on the brink of seeing their historic season end prematurely.
The Braves waited until late Wednesday morning to announce Elder would start Game 3 of the National League Division Series. But debates about this decision faded into the background as manager Brian Snitker turned to his bullpen too late in a 10-2 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
“Going into that third inning, I thought [Elder] might go five [innings],” Snitker said. “He looked like his old self. His stuff was really good. It just kind of went quick.”
Would things have been different had Snitker called upon Brad Hand to face Bryce Harper before the Phillies slugger hit the first of his two home runs? The strength of that argument faded when Hand ended up surrendering the second of Harper’s homers. Might things have been different had Charlie Morton’s right index finger injury not forced the Braves to scramble for a suitable Game 3 starter?
All of this makes for great sports debate. But the only thing that matters to the Braves is the fact they are down 2-1 in this best-of-five series. They will send Spencer Strider to the mound in what is a win-or-go-home Game 4 on Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Game 4 can be heard Thursday live on Thunder Radio, 107.9 FM, AM 1320, 106.7 FM.