Atlanta – Nick Castellanos Well-intentioned moments have a way of ruining them. On a brilliant blue Tuesday afternoon in Georgia, the Phyllis The right fielder hit everywhere The brave ones‘ March to World Series title defense.
Castellanos became a monument to his course – through no fault of his own – Infuse on-air moments like apologies and eulogies with clutch hits. Perhaps we should be tracking the stock market and the health of some of our beloved cultural figures on Castellanos’ three-hit, three-RBI, clutch-defense performance in Game 1 of the National League Division. The Braves lost the series 7-6 and home-field advantage in the five-game series.
One day of play in the work week is a blessing. Everyone you know is at work or school and you’re bowling. On a day like Tuesday, with the sun high and temperatures in the low 70s, Troost Park was a baseball fan’s paradise. The crowd was relaxed and happy — in many cases — already a few beers into the Braves’ starter Maximum fried Throws his first pitch.
However, it didn’t take long for Fried to lose the plot and the Phillies to take the lead. With two outs on the board, Fried grounded out JD Realmudo A full count, and Realmudo hit a two-strike single to keep the inning alive. Castellanos singled him, and the Phillies put two runs on the board before Atlanta could swing a bat.
The first set the tone for the day for the Braves. A Ronald Acuna Jr. doubles and Austin Riley and walks Matt OlsenThe Braves loaded the bases against the starter Ranger Suarez Only one out…only William Contreras to hit an inning-ending double play. Philadelphia hasn’t been in the postseason since 2011, and the Braves are still playing for the 2021 World Championship, but the vibes were reversed in Game 1.
The Braves and Phillies, longtime division rivals, will meet in the postseason for the second time this year. In the previous matchup, in 1993, the grubby Phillies of John Krug, Lenny Dykstra and Curt Schilling defeated the insurance company-calm Braves of Tom Glavin, Greg Maddux and John Schmaltz four games to two. Joe Carter’s memorable, series-ending Game 6 home run would lead the Phillies to Toronto in the World Series.
Just like that year, the modern-day Braves got off to a great start, but the Phillies faced opportunistic hits that erased that advantage. Philadelphia killed Fried in four of the first five innings with a thousand cuts and peppering runs. Castellanos’ bases-loaded single in the top of the fourth was the decisive blow of the game, putting Philadelphia’s fifth and sixth runs on the board for a 7-1 lead.
“This is a very unselfish club. We’re stepping up and we’re adding runs,” Phillies manager Rob Thompson said after the game. “Our hitting was good today in our situation. Our base running was really good, the sack was flying … overall we had a good game. I thought we played.
The Braves, meanwhile, squandered opportunity after opportunity. Travis d’Arnaud cut Philadelphia’s lead in half in the second. Outside of d’Arnaud, the Braves hitters failed, leaving nine men on base. Dansby Swanson – who batted in his first four overs – was the main culprit. Until the bottom of the ninth, Atlanta only showed signs of a pulse in the bottom of the fifth, when d’Arnaud scored two runs on a double.
However, in the final frame, the Braves put up four runs and put two on Matt Olson. Who comes into this postseason with the unenviable task of replacing a franchise legend Freddie Freeman. Olson promptly returned home, leading the Braves to a one-run shutout by the Phillies.
Contreras was up next and laced a shot to right field that was sure to drop. But it’s in a diving glove … Nick Castellanos. One game later, Philadelphia took a one game lead.
After the game, Castellanos briefly described how the catch unfolded. “I saw him swing, I saw him hit it, I saw it go to me, I ran over and caught it as much as I could, and it paid off,” he said. He caught the ball and laid it on the ground for a second or two, thanking the heavens there was no one out in the ninth and thinking there was no better situation than the tying run anywhere in the bases.
“He swung the bat well, had some big hits, pitched well in the ninth,” Thompson said of Castellanos after the game. “I believe this is the beginning of something.”
Atlanta clinched a playoff spot several weeks ago, and lost the bye in the first round earlier last week. The Phillies, meanwhile, were the finalists in the 14-team playoff field, and Started their postseason run with two straight wins against a motivated Cardinals team at an emotional Busch Stadium.
“We’re very optimistic,” Bryce Harper said. “Understanding that if we go 2-0 at home, that’s a big advantage for us, especially going into the postseason in Philadelphia, we’ve got to keep going.”
It’s a long way from the National League Championship Series, but if the Braves are going to get back there for a third straight year, they’ll have to go through the Castellanos … and that doesn’t end well for anyone. Nick Castellanos.
Contact Jay Busbee at [email protected] or on Twitter @jaybusbee.