The Atlanta Braves have reached the NLCS for a second consecutive season, as Freddie Freeman's dramatic two-out solo home run off Milwaukee Brewers stud closer Josh Hader in the eighth inning lifted them to a 5-4 comeback win in Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday night at Truist Park.
Somehow, someway, the Braves overcame a rollercoaster campaign in which they lost superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr., right-handed ace Mike Soroka, and veteran Marcell Ozuna. So, does Atlanta have team-of-destiny energy, or are they in for trouble against the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants?
"They stand a chance. In the last two months, they won two-thirds of their games, which is an 108-win pace over a full season," CBS Sports MLB writer Matt Snyder told the Tiki and Tierney show on Wednesday. "Missing Acuna Jr. really takes them down. I know they've gotten good work from Jorge Soler, Adam Duvall, Eddie Rosario, and Joc Pederson to replace him. But Acuna's a special guy who you can't just replace.
"I wonder if a lot of how good their pitching was in [the NLDS] was due to how bad the Brewers' offense was. You're not going to have that kind of reprieve against the Dodgers or Giants. They definitely have a chance. I think they'd have more of a chance if it was a shorter series. Given that it's seven games, I'd be heavy on whoever wins between the Dodgers and Giants."
In the regular season, Atlanta (88-73) lost its series with the Dodgers, 2-4, and split with the Giants, 3-3. If San Francisco takes Game 5 of their NLDS on Thursday night, they'll secure home-field advantage in the second round. But, if the Dodgers win the do-or-die game on the road, the Braves will host Game 1, since they won the NL East division. A strange set of circumstances, considering that the Dodgers won 106 games as a wild card.
According to FiveThirtyEight's projections, Atlanta has a 34-percent chance to reach its first World Series since 1999 and a 16-percent chance to win its first championship since 1995. Game 1 of the NLCS will take place Saturday, with first pitch yet to be determined.
The entire MLB conversation between Snyder and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.