I'm not here for the media ethics lesson. We've already covered that.
Orlando Arcia and Travis d'Arnaud essentially confirmed the Braves starting shortstop mocked Bryce Harper in the locker room after Game 2. Arcia's "atta boy, Harper," quote has made the rounds on just about every major sports media outlet in the United States. Harper's two home runs against Atlanta on Wednesday, as well as his subsequent Arcia stare downs and throat-slashing motions, sent a pretty firm message the Braves way.
Yet, how much blame does Arcia really deserve here? Playing Harper with a chip on his shoulder is no easy task, but the Phillies have for the most part been the better team this series, minus a few tough innings towards the end of Game 2. Their victory on Wednesday was just a continuation of their level of play from the first two games.
How much blame does Orlando Arcia deserve for Braves Game 3 loss?
Orlando Arcia deserves most the blame for his comment getting back to Bryce Harper. Yes, in an ideal world, perhaps the media would not have reported he was mocking Harper in the Braves clubhouse after Game 2. Trust between players and the media is an important fabric of sports media. In Atlanta, that trust has been impacted.
Now, Arcia doesn't deserve much blame for the Braves eventual defeat. Atlanta lost 10-2 on Wednesday night behind a bad performance from Bryce Elder and the Atlanta bullpen. Elder was a curious choice to begin with, and gave up six earned runs in just under three innings of work. Snitker's bullpen decisions thereafter, which included going to A.J. Smith-Shawver (who gave up three runs of his own), deserve to be questioned.
Arcia's comment may have fueled Harper, but Atlanta's strategy against him wasn't effective. Frankly, it hasn't been for quite some time. Even had Arcia's commentary not gone public, Harper would've dominated in Game 3.
The Braves were doomed from the opening pitch, bulletin-board material or not.