Phillies vs Braves Series Preview: Braves Seek Wins

Atlanta Scuffling In Division Race, Duking With Mets

After playing close-to-unbeatable baseball for the better part of three months, the Atlanta Braves have hit a rough patch. Following an eight-game winning streak that saw them briefly overtake the New York Mets for the top spot in the NL East {which New York had been leading since April} the Braves have dropped four of five and are now a game off the pace.

This weekend, they’ll welcome in the red hot Philadelphia Phillies, who are well behind both New York and Atlanta but have won five of six. It’s a crucial set befitting a comprehensive Phillies vs Braves series preview. Philadelphia probably doesn’t have much of a chance of catching either the Mets or the Braves but the Phillies currently hold the No. 2 Wild Card spot in the NL and have a 2.5-game lead over the No. 3 San Diego Padres.

But, Philadelphia dropped a tough series finale to the lowly Miami Marlins on Thursday and has a slight injury concern with Edmundo Sosa suffering a hamstring injury. They’ll have their hands full with the Braves, who have been atop the Braves standings 2022 since the beginning of June.

Phillies-Braves Game 1 Information

  • Game: Philadelphia Phillies (80-63) at Atlanta Braves (88-55)
  • Location: Truist Park
  • Day/Time:

Braves Never Out of A Game

Even with their recent struggles in series losses to the Seattle Mariners and San Francisco Giants, the Braves have been competitive. Atlanta’s last four losses have all been by three runs or fewer and, in fact, the Braves haven’t lost a game by more than three runs since August 6.

With such a strong lineup (bolstered by standout rookies Michael Harris II and Vaughn Grissom) that is second in MLB in OPS, third in runs scored, and second in home runs, the Braves are always within striking distance.

For the purposes of this Phillies vs Braves series preview, it’s also worth noting that the Phillies have a middle-of-the-road bullpen without any “shutdown” arms.

The Philadelphia relief core has been strengthened throughout the season, particularly with the addition of David Robertson, but it still walks a ton of batters. That doesn’t bode well against the Braves, who have seven players with 17+ home runs. You can’t afford to give Atlanta extra baserunners, especially in close games.

Pitching Matchups Are Close

Continuing our Phillies vs Braves Series Preview: The Phillies will go with the consistent Ranger Suárez in Friday’s series opener and he’ll be followed by Aaron Nola and Bailey Falter while the Braves have Max Fried, Jake Odorizzi, and Spencer Strider scheduled to pitch.

So, both teams have two of their top-of-the-line guys along with one of their less-effective starters. The Suárez-Fried matchup should be a great one of really strong lefties with Fried having the slight edge. The Phillies have the big advantage with Nola facing Odorizzi {who has really struggled with Atlanta} while the Braves are set up well as Strider takes on Falter.

Strictly based on matchups, Atlanta is an understandable favorite for this series. But, when you look at the MLB player stats as well as how good the Phillies have been since Bryce Harper’s return {not to mention Atlanta’s recent swoon} there is some value in taking Philadelphia. On the other hand, the Braves have been the best MLB team in baseball for 3.5 months and are 47-25 at home this season so it isn’t wise to underrate them.

Phillies’ Schedule Has Been Soft

Philadelphia and Atlanta, including this series, play each other seven more times this season so they’ll be seeing a lot of each other down the stretch. While both teams have benefited from weak schedules in the last couple of weeks, it’s going to be hard for the Phillies to adjust to playing an elite team after playing 22 consecutive games against teams that are under .500. Philadelphia did go 14-8 in that span but playing the Braves is a different animal.

A critical part of this Phillies vs Braves series preview is to acknowledge that while the Braves have played a tougher schedule as of late, Atlanta has also fattened up against bad teams and struggled against good teams. The Phillies are 29-34 against the above-.500 foes while the Braves are 28-32 against such teams. The difference is that Atlanta has played the Astros, Cardinals, and Mariners in the last three weeks so the Braves are a little more tuned up for tougher competition.

Of course, though, once the teams get between the lines and are each playing against a good team, it’s tough to tell how things will play out. It’s just that the Phillies haven’t played a team of the Braves’ caliber in a long time, which could make a big difference particularly when Fried and Strider have each been awesome all season.

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