After losing to the Phillies 9-1 on Friday night, the Braves are playing an elimination game in just a few hours. So we can focus our energies on that one, the most crucial game of the year so far, I will be quick here.

But I can’t type as quickly as the Phillies scored six runs in the third inning last night.  Spencer Strider showed no effects of the oblique injury and the accompanying layoff—until he did.  Through the first two innings, he got them six up six down with three strikeouts.  Facing the bottom of the order in the third, the wheels fell off.  He walked light hitting Brandon March on four pitches, and then made a throwing error on a pickoff, advancing him to third.  Light hitting rookie shortstop Bryson Stott fouled off a bunch of two strike fastballs.  TDA decided to try to fool him with a slider, and Stott lined a double to right (I could hear the late Don Sutton’s voice in my head, saying “don’t speed up his bat by throwing an off speed pitch”).  1-0 Phillies.  So they issued an IBB to Schwarber.  The first pitch to Hoskins was a fastball down the middle at 93.8 mph that wound up in the left field bleachers.  4-0 Phils.  Despite the fact that he had apparently run out of gas, Strider was left in for another batter.  But after Aragorn allowed a first pitch single to Realmuto, Dylan Lee was summoned from the pen.  He promptly surrendered a two run homer to Harper.

So it’s 6-0 Phillies and Aaron Nolan is dealing on the mound for Philly.  Someone mentioned that it felt like the fifth game of the 2019 NLDS.  Sure, it was bad, but it wasn’t nearly as hopeless as spotting the opposing team 10 runs in the top of the first.  A six run lead is not insurmountable–except most of the time, like last night.  The Braves only scored one run the rest of the way, and the Phils scored three more for the final of 9-1.

But the main reason this is not like that October night in 2019 is that the series and the season are not over!  Our Hammers just need to win two games in a row, which is a lot easier than overcoming a six run deficit after three innings.  Today will be big game Charlie Morton vs. Thor Syndegaard and tomorrow is Fried, who will doubtless be better than he was in Game 1.  Most importantly, the bats are due to wake up.

I’m not going to use this space today to look back at the remarkable 2021 season or look ahead to the bright future for this team. There will be time for that whenever this season is over.  But it’s not over yet.  Go Braves.