The Phillies: Baseball gave the Phillies the day off on Thursday, in hopes that everyone would forget about them. So let me remind you: The Phillies just finished a series win over the Marlins, their fourth straight series win since getting chased out of St. Louis. They have sole possession of second place in the NL East, are among the top five teams in the league, and are a game and a half ahead of the defending NL champs. Tonight, their best starter goes up against the sport's worst lineup.
The Braves: Remember a few weeks ago when I said the Braves were bad, and their manager would be fired soon? The Braves are still bad, and their manager was fired. They did just win their tenth game of the season in under forty tries.
Gordon Beckham - After coming off the disabled list and going on a 10-for-23 tear, including his ninth inning RBI double off the bench on Wednesday, Beckham has said he wants his time with the Braves to "matter," a goal that seems even less likely than his outburst of offense.
Ender Inciarte - With all this talk of Tyler Goeddel once again proving the Phillies are weirdly good at the rule 5 draft, let's not forget that Inciarte was, one or two generations ago, the guy they were being celebrated for picking. He's got eight hits in his last six games, and seven of them were singles. This basically makes him king of the offense.
Mallex Smith - Smith crashed a pair of home runs in one night against the Pirates on May 17, reinvigorating the argument, to some, that he should be playing for the Braves everyday. His skills have been so appreciated by the Atlanta fans that at this point, they feel bad enough to hope he gets to leave.
Tyler Goeddel -
Remember, Phillies fans. Tyler Goeddel is only 23 years old and never played above AA before this season. And he's getting better.— John Bielski (@JohnRBielski) May 15, 2016
Freddy Galvis - Finally, someone else to talk about. Galvis is hitting 5-for-17 over the last week. Rumor has it that he is also pretty fly? Sources have yet to confir
yo Freddy Galvis is fly af pic.twitter.com/D85kI1IW4i— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) May 19, 2016
Ah there it is.
Tommy Joseph - The rookie has yet to play in a game since his 3-for-4 performance that ended in a personalized cheer and high-five from Andres Blanco, which means he hasn't done anything to taint the evening and we can continue to list him here. Yay!
Matt Wisler vs. Aaron Nola
Wisler has pushed through at least 7.1 innings in each of his last three starts (the previous two saw him go 8.0), so he is used to absorbing large chunks of Braves baseball in a single night. Against the World Champion Royals, he struck out a season-high seven, allowed eight hits, and only two earned runs with no walks. More importantly,
who starts on Friday against Braves right Matt Wisler— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) May 18, 2016
The more time we get between Aaron Nola starts, the more fun facts surface about him in the interim. Have you heard about his devastating curve ball and how its only less effective than Jose Fernandez's? Or that he'll be a key figure in the Reading Fightin's 50th anniversary? Or that he has an extremely conservative attitude toward pleasing doubters?
Williams Perez vs. Adam Morgan
Going into his last start against the Pirates, word was that Perez was on a bit of a roll. He'd pitched a complete game one-hitter in the minors, then surfaced with the big club to go eight innings and allow only two hits and one run against the, um. Never mind. The point is, in his following start, he got utterly pounded over six innings for nine hits and nine earned runs against the Pirates.
Morgan, too, has struggled, giving up seven earned runs in less than four innings in his last start. However, the start before, in which things seemed to have clicked, came against Atlanta - an easy lineup to feel confident about beating, but still. The 26-year-old lefty could use any boost right now. This game will feature two hurlers who have not had a lot of widespread success, but when they have, it has come against the opponent whom they will be facing on this day. Poetry!
TBA vs. Jerad Eickhoff
Six innings and 97 pitches was Eickhoff's deepest start since April 18, when he torched the Mets with nine K's and only two earned runs over seven innings. His limited arsenal has started to hurt him, and the Phillies have only given him an average of 2.51 runs per start. But even that should be enough to beat the shadow of a human the Braves send out to make the start in this series finale.
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