The Braves are a win and two losses away from a home-field advantage in the National League Division Series. Not an ideal position with a game remaining, but plausible.
After losing 3-0 to the Phillies on Saturday night, the Braves have only one scenario in which they’d own home-field advantage over the NL West winner. They’ll need to win Sunday, along with losses from the Dodgers and Rockies.
Los Angeles and Colorado are the only possible opponents for the Braves. One will be forced into a wild-card game along with the NL Central runner-up, either Chicago or Milwaukee, who are tied atop their division.
But the bottom line entering Sunday: The Braves don’t know who they’re playing or where. All that’s known is it’ll be the Rockies or the Dodgers, and the series could start in any of the three cities.
The Braves, Rockies and Dodgers are tied with 90 wins apiece. Colorado and Los Angeles hold tiebreakers over the Braves entering the final day of the regular season.
Kevin Gausman will start for the Braves on Sunday, opposing Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez. The Braves will be gunning for home-field, so no rest for any regulars.
Max Scherzer was scheduled to pitch for Washington, but they’ll roll with Erick Fedde against Colorado’s Tyler Anderson. Scherzer would’ve pitched if a postseason berth was on the line, but because Colorado and Los Angeles have secured spots, the Nationals don’t want more taxing on their ace.
In San Francisco, the Dodgers go for a sweep against the Giants. They’ll start Rich Hill, bumping Walker Buehler in case they need him for an additional game. Though those plans could change Sunday morning, per the Los Angeles Times. San Francisco will start rookie Andrew Suarez.
A Dodgers/Rockies win paired with the other’s loss would crown a division champion and ensure the Braves’ starting point. Both winning or losing will force a 163rd game for the West, where the winner faces the Braves and the loser is relegated to a wild-card game.
The Braves will root for double losses, which would award the Braves the home-field advantage, assuming they defeat the Phillies. If all three lose or win, the West winner opens the NLDS at home.
In the event of a 163rd game, the Dodgers and Rockies would play Monday night at Dodger Stadium. The Braves would begin workouts Tuesday wherever game 1 is scheduled.
Braves manager Brian Snitker has made it clear he has no preference of opponent.
“I like who we have on the mound (Sunday) and our bullpen’s in really good shape,” Snitker said. “So hopefully we can get that win and give ourselves every opportunity to get home field.”