The Atlanta Braves have played the Phillies extremely well so far this season. Both teams seem to be returning to their days of playing competitive baseball. After dropping the first game of the series, the Braves would bounce back and win the next two games to tie for second in the division. Each team currently has a 16-11 record and sit at one game behind the division leading Mets, who the Braves play in New York this week (May 1st-3rd).
Game 1 was a tough game as Julio Teheran only tossed 3 innings due to back pain that cause his fastball speed to drop to the mid 80s. He gave up 3 earned runs on 2 hits with 2 walks and 2 strike outs. Teheran pitched a bullpen session and seems to be on track to make his next scheduled start. Aaron Nola continues his impressive work as the Phillies ace as he only allowed 3 earned runs (all in the first inning) on 7 hits with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. The top of the first saw some great offense from the Braves as Freddie Freeman hit a RBI single, Albies would steal home, and Acuña Jr. doubled in Freeman. Unfortunately, that would be all the runs the Braves would score the rest of the game. The Phillies would hit 3 home runs in the game to take Game 1 by a final score of 7-3.
Game 2 saw Mike Foltynewicz pitch a great game as he went 6 innings with only 1 earned run allowed on 3 hits and 6 strike outs. Nick Markakis continued his great work as he homered off of Nick Pivetta in his first at bat of the game. Markakis currently has a .302 batting average with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs in 27 games. He is on pace to reach his first 20 home run season since 2008. Nick Pivetta only went 5 innings for the Phillies as he allowed 4 earned runs on 6 hits with 3 walks and 6 strike outs. Inciarte would hit a 2-run single, Albies had a sacrifice fly to left field, and Freddie Freeman notched his first triple of the season with a RBI triple to deep right center field. Arodys Vizcaíno picked up his third save of the season as the Braves took Game 2 by a final score of 4-1.
Game 3 saw the offense explode thanks to some of the Braves’ youngsters. Ronald Acuña Jr. reached base 4 times in this game with 2 doubles and 2 walks. Ozzie Albies continued his great work as he went 2 for 5 with 3 RBIs, including a lead off home run to bring his total to 9 on the season. He also scored 3 runs for the Braves which shows his value on the base paths. Johan Camargo joined in on the fun when he launched a 3-run home run to right field in the third inning. Pitcher Jesse Biddle also got in on the action as he notched his first Major League hit with a RBI double that hit the chalk line in left field. Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez only lasted 4 innings as he gave up 6 earned runs on 7 hits with 2 walks and 4 strike outs. The Phillies bullpen, who has been good lately, would allow 4 earned runs on 4 hits and walk 4 batters.
Not to be forgotten, veteran pitcher Brandon McCarthy pitched a good game for Atlanta as he went 5 1/3 innings only allowing 1 earned run on 5 hits with 6 strike outs. The Braves bullpen picked him up with nice outings from Sam Freeman, Peter Moylan, and Jesse Biddle. They struck out 6 combined batters with only 2 walks over the final innings of the game. Jesse Biddle was impressive as he pitched 2 fantastic innings allowing 0 earned runs on 0 hits with 1 walk and 5 strike outs. The Braves would clinch the series and Game 3 by a final score of 10-1.
This is the third consecutive series that the Braves have won over Philadelphia this season. It seems that these two teams will see some heavy competition between one another all year and be in the mix for the division title. The Braves head out to New York for a 3 game set with the Mets (May 1st-3rd) and then head back home for a short 3 game home stand at SunTrust Park against the San Francisco Giants (May 4th-6th).
- Ender Inciarte has started to heat up at the plate and on the base paths. Ender hit .307 (4 for 13) in this series including a double and a triple with 1 RBI and 4 runs scored. He has continued to back up his promise to be more aggressive on the bases as he has swiped 4 of them against the Phillies. He has stolen 13 bases in 26 games this season which leads all of Major League Baseball. He is currently slashing .276/.320/.319 and looks to be turning things around after a rocky start.
- Ozzie Albies hit an impressive .333 (5 for 15) in this series with 2 doubles, a home run, and 4 RBIs. Albies also stole 2 bases and scored 5 runs across 3 games. He leads the National League in six categories: runs scored (29), hits (34), doubles (12), home runs (9), extra-base hits (22), and total bases (75). Albies is also second in the National league in slugging percentage (.647). He’s also 4th in home runs across all of Major League Baseball just behind Mike Trout, Mitch Haniger, and Didi Gregorius who each have 10 on the season. He has absolutely done enough to earn NL Player of the Month honors. There is no reason that Albies shouldn’t continue this pace and be the National League’s starting second baseman in this years All-Star game.
- Ronald Acuña Jr. has been incredible since he was called up to the big league club. The Braves are 4-1 since Acuña joined them on this road trip. He is batting .421/.500/.789 (8 for 19) in his first 5 games on Atlanta’s roster with 1 home run and 4 RBIs. Acuña has also walked 3 times and has stolen 1 base as he proved to the club why he is such an important piece for an already good offense. This kid has a very bright future and career in Atlanta.
- The Braves offense still leads the National League in batting average (.268) and are third in team batting average overall in the majors just behind Tampa Bay and Boston. Atlanta has hit 30 home runs with 142 RBIs and have also hit 66 doubles so far this season. They lead the National League in steals (24) and are third in all of Major League Baseball. The Braves also lead the majors in hits with 260 of them. I don’t think this team is going to slow down anytime soon.