Do the Phillies have the better starting rotation heading into the NLDS?
This series has a ton of factors that will ultimately sway one team to the winning side, but, like any playoff series, starting pitching will be key. Despite what many are saying or what is shown on paper, the Phillies have the edge in this NLDS against the Braves.
With Suárez, the Phillies third-best starter, on the mound in Atlanta, the pressure shifts all the way onto the Braves. If they throw out Strider and lose at home, the Phillies have the upper hand in the next two matchups, with Wheeler against a hampered Fried in Atlanta and Nola against Elder in Philadelphia.
That brings up the (not so) secret weapon of Citizens Bank Park. Elder will be making his first-ever postseason start in Philadelphia, and it's probably safe to say that the Philly fans will be extra loud for Game 3 of the NLDS. He'll likely be matched up with Nola, who is finding his groove and will be comfortable at home in front of the Philly Phaithful.
Game 4, if necessary, will be the match up everyone has been waiting for. Wheeler vs Strider, and the return of Strider to Citizens Bank Park. These two, hard throwing, righties are pretty evenly matched but the advantage the fans bring in Philadelphia can tilt the scales.
Finally, if they make it to a Game 5, Nola would be pitted against Fried, assuming he responds well to his Game 2 start. Going into the unknown of whether Fried can give his best is a dicey situation for the Braves.
Verdict: The Phillies match up nicely against the Braves because of their depth and two aces at the top of the rotation. As it stands today, the Phillies' starting rotation has the edge over the Braves' rotation in this year's NLDS.