ATLANTA - The Atlanta Braves will take on the Cardinals at SunTrust Park Wednesday in Game 5 of the NL Division Series.
A general view of the NLDS logo on the field before start of the NLDS Game 2 between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on Friday, October 4, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/MLB Photos / Getty Images)
"This has been an unbelievable series," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "My God, both teams just banging at each other and the close games and the late-inning heroics. It's been something. It's been exhausting."
The series began at SunTrust Park with the Braves losing the first game 7-6, but they were able to tie the series after winning the second game 3-0. The two teams then headed to St. Louis where the Braves won 3-1 in Game 3 of the series. They were a win away from their first NLCS appearance since 2001.
Then, in Game 4, the Cardinals won 5-4, tying the series and setting the stage for Wednesday's game back in Atlanta.
Now, this best-of-five series comes down to a winner-take-all contest.
The pitching matchup will be a rematch of Game 2, when Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz outdueled Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals.
Foltynewicz, an All-Star in 2018 who was demoted to Triple-A for more than a month after getting off to a terrible start, pitched three-hit ball over seven innings in another stellar performance for his tale of two seasons. He was 6-1 with a 2.65 ERA in 10 starts after returning the minors, and he carried that form right into the postseason. Flaherty had one of the great second halves in baseball history and pitched well in his playoff debut. But a two-run homer by pinch-hitter Adam Duvall sealed the victory for the Braves, marking only the second time since the All-Star break that the 23-year-old right-hander gave up as many as three runs in a start.
The way both guys pitched last Friday, Game 5 figures to be another nail-biter.
"It's going to be fun," Flaherty said Tuesday after the Cardinals arrived in Atlanta. "Come on, you got Game 5, win or go home. What's not to be excited about?"
The Braves desperately need to get the middle of their lineup going, especially slugging first baseman Freddie Freeman. Clearly bothered by a sore elbow, he is hitting just .125 (2 of 16) in the series, with his lone RBI coming on a homer in Game 1. Those behind him haven't done much either, with cleanup hitter Josh Donaldson at .133 (2 of 15), Nick Markakis at .176 (3 of 17), Matt Joyce at .111 (1 of 9) and Brian McCann at .154 (2 of 13).
Considering his third through seventh hitters are a combined 10 of 70 (.143) with one homer and three RBIs, Snitker might just shake things up in Game 5.
Duvall, who is 3 of 7 with five RBIs off the bench, is a logical candidate to get his first start.
"That's something I've been thinking about," Snitker said. "I've been thinking about a lot of things."
Game 5 will take place at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The game will be aired on TBS.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.