ATLANTA – Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and the NL East champion Atlanta Braves are set to open the playoffs on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers or Colorado Rockies.
Needing at least a win to have a shot at home field in the NLDS, the Braves lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 3-1 on Sunday.
The Braves needed a win and a loss by both Colorado and Los Angeles to secure home-field advantage when the division series starts Thursday.
The Dodgers and Rockies both ended up winning big, setting up a one-game playoff to decide the NL West.
Not having home field advantage in the NLDS was a mild disappointment to a Braves team that was a surprising, resounding success under Snitker.
The Braves had lost 90-plus games in three straight seasons in a rebuild that was expected to see them need at least another season to contend for a playoff spot.
Freeman, Nick Markakis and NL rookie of the year contender Ronald Acuna Jr. instead helped them become the first NL team to win 90 games (90-72) after three successive seasons of 90-plus losses.
“I’m happy for all the guys in there that endured all that,” Snitker said.
Snitker said he’ll meet with the coaching staff and other members of the organization on Monday to determine the 25-man playoff roster.
Shortstop Dansby Swanson’s sore left wrist may keep him off that roster. He took some swings on Sunday and continued to receive treatment.
With or without him, the Braves are in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
“It’s a good feeling what we accomplished this year – where we came from, where we started to where we are right now,” Snitker said. “There were multiple boxes we needed to check along the way here, and we did. It’s very gratifying. I’m proud of the guys in that room and how they carried themselves and showed up to play every single day.”
Markakis led the way there, playing all 162 games for the Braves, and Freeman led the NL in hits.
Freeman led the National League with 191 hits. He’s the first Brave to lead the NL outright since Terry Pendleton had 187 in 1991.
Freeman went 0 for 1 with a walk against the Phillies.
Markakis because the fifth Atlanta Brave to start all 162 games since 1962. Markakis started in right field and struck out twice before he was replaced for some needed rest.
“He’s the definition of a pro,” Snitker said.
Sean Newcomb retired two batters in the sixth in the first relief appearance of his career. Newcomb went 12-9 in 30 starts this season and had started all 49 of his previous appearances.
HE SAID IT
“If we had finished .500 this year, it would have been a huge step forward,” Snitker said.
Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday, Game 2 Friday and Game 3 Sunday. Mike Foltynewicz is the likely Game 1 starter.
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