The Phillies: Somewhere in the last week, the Phillies played their 100th game of the season. They lost. They lost that whole series, in fact, to the Pirates. They also lost the two previous series, and split the one before that, and haven't actually won one since sweeping some poor, miserable team from July 4-6. That team was the Braves. The Phillies haven't had as much success against any team as they have had against Atlanta. So what I'm saying is get ready for some eminently watchable sporting matches over the next - christ - four days.
The Braves: This week, the Braves turned two spare parts into a prospect because, I don't know, the Rangers were just like, "Here, take this guy, he's pretty all right. And then we'll take Lucas Harrell and somebody else." And the Braves were like, "'Kay."
Meanwhile, the Phillies, after trying with Aaron Harang, Chad Billingsley, Jerome Williams, and A.J. Burnett to sign a vet they could convert into prospects at the trade deadline, have finally succeeded in making Jeremy Hellickson look presentable, and all they can do is hope he doesn't suddenly suffer some weird malady like all of his teeth falling out or a toe nail growing out of his forehead so that the possibility continues to exist that he could be worth something in a trade. Thanks a lot, Rangers.
Anthony Recker: He's got 17 AB in 2016, and eight of them came in the last week. He went 4-for-8 with two doubles. You can't tell me he's not already qualified to be an offensive leader of this team.
Adonis Garcia: This man has also had a great week at the plate, with eight hits, three doubles, and a home run in 21 AB.
Adonis Garcia in July— Braves Reddit (@BravesReddit) July 28, 2016
The three responses to that tweet all say "trade him." Ah, the dignified majesty of sucky teams with a surprisingly productive player near the trade deadline.
Freddie Freeman: He had four hits and five RBI last night. Why is everyone not just walking Freeman? There can't be anyone else you're too afraid to face in this lineup.
Aaron Altherr: Aaron Altherr is here!
Carlos Ruiz: Chooch is 3-for-6 with a walk since last Thursday, leading many to wonder if nightmares come true.
Does anybody else worry every single day that my best friend, Carlos Ruiz, will be traded?— philly kelly (@phillykelly) July 27, 2016
Cesar Hernandez: I once saw a kid in little league hit the ball very far, and the coach started to yell "Get two! Get two!" as the crowd cheered. Kid ran straight from home plate, over the pitchers mound, to second base. How unsurprised would you be to see Hernandez do that, like, tonight. He's been hitting, or at least getting on base, but staying on base has become his white whale. Good luck out there tonight, Cesar.
Odubel Herrera: 'Dubes has 13 hits since the All-Star break. Ten of them came in the last week. Second half surge, anyone?! Anyone? [Sound of door slamming]. Don't leave, this is your house!
Aaron Nola vs. Matt Wisler, 7:10 p.m.
Nola's struggles came back in his last outing, or had they never left? Who is the real Aaron Nola? Is he a No. 2 of the future like we used to say? Or is he some guy that gives up six runs and six hits in four innings? Or is he a multifaceted person, capable of a variety of actions? Baseball in its modern form is just not equipped to answer these questions.
Matt Wisler is a drifter who came to town on a circus train. The Braves found him asleep in the rolled up tarp and asked him if he knew how to pitch. He told them he was the champion turnip-chucker out of Yellowmouth County, 15 years running. A quick Google search revealed that there is no such thing as "Yellowmouth County" or "Matt Wisler" but they're going to let him pitch anyway.
Vince Velasquez vs. Tyrell Jenkins 7:35 p.m.
Vince went six deep while the sun punished the earth last Sunday, but still took a loss because nobody's here to bail him out. However, he's been dandy enough this year that the Rangers apparently want him back. Is this start an audition before a trade deadline deal? Hell no. Stop reading this paragraph immediately.
Tyrell Jenkins was part of a dance troupe that performed at Turner Field but couldn't find an exit. When word reached him that the facility was going to be destroyed after this season, he put on a Braves hat and pretended to be part of the team so that he could escape with the others. No one has noticed he's not on the roster yet and he's getting the start on Friday night.
Jeremy Hellickson [definitely, definitely] vs. Julio Teheran. 7:10 p.m.
If Hellickson makes this start, everything everyone has said about him for over a week is a lie.
Julio Teheran is a young boy who made a wish to be professional baseball player in a mystical antique shop, and then walked through a magical mirror, appearing in this universe with his wish granted. It was later that he realized this was no wish - he plays for the Braves, baseball's cruel joke, making his life a curse put upon him by the antique shop owner who was actually an evil genie.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. TBA, 1:35 p.m.
Eickhoff might be a bit on edge from his last brilliant start being wasted by his bad team. Or, he'll be cool like he always is and go out and try to win this game. The point is, the Phillies need to start giving their young pitchers some runs to work with or they're all going to fade away.
TBA, the Total Baseball Android, is a robot from the future who was sent back in time to help the Braves, a last place team of scrappy underdogs, win the championship. Only the guys who sent him back miscalculated and he came back too late in the season to help them. Now he's stuck here and the Braves have to keep providing him with his extremely limited power source every few hours, Astatine (which is created by the decay of uranium) or he will explode with the power of six megaton bombs.
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