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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Freddie Freeman Dustin McGowan Jersey , Nick Markakis and the NL East champion Atlanta Braves are set to open the playoffs on the road.All they need is an NL West champion to play.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. But the Braves’ second straight loss in Philadelphia made those results inconsequential for Atlanta.Braves manager Brian Snitker said he’ll watch the NL West-deciding game like a regular fan.“I don’t have a pick one way or the other,” he said. “I’m just glad we’re going to play Thursday.”Cesar Hernandez hit a leadoff home run, and Rhys Hoskins’ RBI double in the fifth inning helped a Phillies team that was 15 games over .500 on Aug. 5 finish with 80 wins.Losing home field 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.There’s more work ahead before they play either the Los Angeles Dodgers or Colorado Rockies. 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 http://www.raysfanproshop.com/authentic ... ria-jersey , and Freeman led the NL in hits.Kevin Gausman (10-11) took the loss in his first start since Sept. 20 and settled down after Hernandez’s leadoff homer.“I just kind of grooved that first pitch in there. I mean, it was right down the middle,” he said.Tommy Hunter (5-4) earned the win in relief for the Phillies, and Seranthony Dominguez got his 16th save to end a season where expectations soared in early August only to become unraveled in one of the bigger — but not close to the biggest — late-season collapses in team history. The Phillies went 17-34 after they were 15 games over .500 on Aug. 5.Rookie manager Gabe Kapler said 2019 could be a special season should his key players continue to improve — something think about in a pivotal offseason.“It’s going to include probably a lot of thinking about the Phillies,” he said.HIT KINGFreeman 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.IRON MANMarkakis 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.CHANGEUPSean 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.GOING FOR THREEPhillies starter Ranger Suarez struck out five in three innings — and hit a stand-up triple for his first career hit.BANK ON ITThe Phillies finished 49-32 at home, their third-best record ever at Citizens Bank Park. They finished 31-50 on the road, the first time the Phillies were at least 15 games over .500 at home and 15 games under .500 on the road since 1955.Hoskins addressed the crowd before the game and said there was “obviously a little bit of disappointment with the way the season ended” but added that the Phillies would learn from it and be better in 2019.On fan appreciation day, Hoskins said Phillies fans were the best in baseball.HE SAID IT“If we had finished .500 this year, it would have been a huge step forward,” Snitker said.UP NEXTBraves: Play Game 1 of the NLDS on Thursday, Game 2 Friday and Game 3 Sunday. Mike Foltynewicz is the likely Game 1 starter.Phillies: GM Matt Klentak and team president Andy MacPhail will meet the media this week to discuss plans for the offseason. JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — New Miami Marlins catcher Jorge Alfaro showed up for the team’s first full-squad spring training workout wearing a T-shirt that read Adeiny Hechavarria Jersey , “I talk (trash) about you in Spanish,” with a word more pungent and less publishable than “trash.”The Marlins’ English speakers are onto him.At the behest of CEO Derek Jeter, the Marlins last year began Spanish language classes for coaches, and the program has since been expanded throughout the organization, from media relations to analytics to the front office. Now minor league players who speak English are being taught Spanish, while Spanish-speakers learn English — part of a trend in Major League Baseball toward more bilingual teams.“We want to invest in the players outside of their athletic abilities — invest in them as human beings,” Jeter says. “Communication is first and foremost when you talk about building a championship-caliber organization, which means making sure our Spanish-speaking players are speaking English, but also our English-speaking players speaking Spanish.”The Jeter regime’s education program for minor league players extends beyond language. They’re taught life skills and cultural awareness — an asset for youngsters hoping to break into the big leagues in one of the nation’s most diverse cities.The Marlins are not alone. About half of the 30 teams in the big leagues have begun offering Spanish lessons to English-speaking players in the past few years, says Major League Baseball vice president Paul Mifsud, who works with player programs.“The public focus on what the Marlins are doing has helped to improve both the quality of these kinds of initiatives, and the expediency with which teams are adopting this,” Mifsud says. “The Marlins’ industry leadership on this is extremely helpful. We’d like all 30 teams doing their best to get players the level of education they want on these issues Sergio Romo Jersey , and I think we’re heading that direction.”Alfaro’s T-shirt was worn in jest — he’s bilingual, excited about his move to Miami and already a clubhouse leader. But potential cultural divides exist on any team, and the Marlins’ education program offers a bridge.“We’re learning about each other,” says Gary Denbo, vice president of scouting and player development. “We address cultural awareness: Why do Latin players listen to their music so loud? Why do American players take it so hard when they go 0 for 4 with the expectations placed on them by their families? Why do some guys talk so loud on the bus?“The work our education department is doing affects everything in our players’ lives. We cover cooking, shopping, nutrition and how to pay your bills and manage your money.”At the start of spring training, the Marlins held a cooking competition for a group of top minor leaguers. The winning team of outfielder Connor Scott, shortstop Osiris Johnson and pitcher Jorge Guzman celebrated with whoops and high-fives — exactly the kind of scene Marlins officials hope to see more of.The trio were white, black and Latin, and their chicken and broccoli stir fry reportedly was delicious.“You’ve got three guys from totally different worlds,” Denbo says. “And when they were announced as the winners, it was like they had won the World Series.”Scott http://www.raysfanproshop.com/authentic ... ria-jersey , the Marlins’ first-round draft pick last year, says he appreciates the chance to learn about and communicate with another culture.“The better you know your teammates, the more you trust them,” Scott says. “I think that’s the biggest they’re preaching here — trust. If you don’t trust the guy next to you, how will you trust him to get the runner over, or trust that he’s not going to run into you in the outfield?”Scott says he took no Spanish in high school, but thanks to the Marlins he can now converse in the language. Catcher Will Banfield, a second-round draft pick last year, says he has made progress speaking Spanish when meeting with Latin pitchers, although it’s not always as difficult as it might seem.“‘Curveball’ is ‘curveball,'” he says. “‘Slider’ is ‘slider.'”Still, as he anticipates an eventual promotion to Miami, Banfield says learning Spanish will help him http://www.raysfanproshop.com/authentic ... ria-jersey , off the field as well as on the mound.The Marlins have hired six full-time teachers, plus part-time instructors. Every minor league affiliate will have a teacher this season, and when a team is at home, every player will receive Spanish, English or life skills lessons, according to Denbo.Marlins veterans applaud the program. Infielder Miguel Rojas, who’s bilingual, says improved language skills can ease the transition to the majors, especially in South Florida.“You’re going to jump in an Uber, and that guy is going to speak Spanish,” Rojas says. “So these American guys will be prepared with what they’re going to face in Miami.”