After a short road trip, the Phillies are heading back home. Riding the high of a three-game winning streak, the Phillies will host NL East-leading Braves for weekend series. If the Phillies can take care of business this weekend, it will put them right back in the hunt for first place in the division.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Game one: Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.40 ERA) vs. Mike Soroka (10-2, 2.46 ERA)
Game two: Zach Eflin (7-10, 4.25 ERA) vs. Max Fried (10-4, 4.08 ERA)
Game three: Aaron Nola (8-2, 3.64 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-5, 5.71 ERA)
This is a big opportunity for the Phillies. With the Braves currently holding a five and a half game lead for first place in the division, a series victory would have the Phillies knocking on their door for that first place spot. With the Phillies riding a small winning streak and the Braves dropping six of their last eight games, all signs point towards the Phillies getting themselves back in the division race this weekend.
Another thing in the Phillies’ favor is they hold the advantage in this matchup. Although it may not seem like it, in the nine times that these two teams have faced off, the Phillies have won five of those games. Facing off against the Braves’ best arms in Soroka and Fried is going to be tough, but Aaron Nola will be on the hill to close out the series and he continues to look in ace form.
A Truly Massive Series
This is must-win baseball for the Phillies. They cannot afford to drop this series. Heading home on a hot streak and facing off against a team that has struggled as of late is the perfect remedy to steal this series. Gaining ground in the division race will also mean creating breathing room in the Wild Card race, where the Phillies have been in and out of that second spot.
Winning this series and getting within a handful of games of first place would be huge for the Phillies for another reason as well. It would give the front office an incentive to be aggressive at the trade deadline and go acquire pieces to help this team compete right now. Hopefully, the Phillies do not squander the opportunity that has been placed in front of them.
Stats to keep an eye on
- Aaron Nola has a 1.51 ERA over his last seven starts.
- Rhys Hoskins is 6-14 (.428) with three RBIs over his last three games.
- As a team, the Braves don’t hit as well on the road. Their home batting average is .275, but when they head on the road, it drops to .248.
- Max Fried has a 4.15 ERA on the road this season.
- Josh Donaldson is hitting .348 with a .516 OBP over his last seven games.