Keep wearing out the basepaths
The Phillies have racked up an impressive number of stolen bases this postseason. Through four games, they have the most attempts (10) and with nine successfully swiped bags, lead the second-place Diamondbacks by three.
Trea Turner leads the way with four steals, while Nick Castellanos, Bryce Harper, Brandon Marsh, Cristian Pache and Bryson Stott have each chipped in one each.
The running game was a big part of their victory in Game 1 of this series. They took four free bases off of Atlanta pitching and catcher Sean Murphy and, in the process, set a franchise record for stolen bases in a single playoff game.
After swiping another pair of bags in Monday's loss against veteran catcher Travis d'Arnaud, there's no reason to think they won't continue running. Even though Murphy is in the 86th percentile in pop time and 84th percentile in caught stealing above average, the Braves have elected to go back to the 34-year-old d'Arnaud for Game 3.
d'Arnaud ranks in the 45th percentile in pop time and the 6th percentile in caught stealing above average. Not good ... for the Braves at least.
The Phillies have done their homework and know which pitchers can be taken advantage of, and with d'Arnaud behind the plate, there should be plenty of opportunities for Phillies runners on the basepaths tonight.
Get the Citizens Bank Park crowd into the game early
The Phillies have two fantastic opportunities in front of them. Just like last year's NLDS, they can avoid the trip back to Truist Park altogether with a pair of wins at home.
There’s no doubt that Citizens Bank Park will be rocking before first pitch. Philly fans are known for their passion and exuberance, making their home field one of the premier postseason venues.
It can be a daunting place for opposing players, especially for young pitchers making their postseason debut — like Bryce Elder will be tonight. The key for the home team will be to keep the crowd in it right from the start.
On the other side, Aaron Nola loves pitching in front of the Philly faithful. In 14 regular season starts at Citizens Bank Park this year, he pitched to a 6-3 record with a 3.29 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP and 97 strikeouts in 87 2/3 innings. Compare that to his 5.43 road ERA, and it's obvious he gets up for the home fans.
Nola will need to build on his sparkling seven-inning, three-hit shutout in the Wild Card round with a clean first inning to get the crowd riled up and the Phillies’ bats in the game as soon as possible.