Swept by the Nats, pummeled by the Mets, the Phillies now face the divisional foe they might actually have a chance at handling. Got to score some runs first, though. Let’s start with that and work our way up.
The thing is, the Braves also don’t score so many runs. How the hell is this going to work. Will MLB finally witness its first “forever-game?” Experts agree that this horrifying concept might be closer than we think.
Ender Inciarte: Should the Braves drop off a thank-you card in the Phillies clubhouse for pulling Inciarte off the Rule 5 scrap heap all those years ago, putting him on track to be Atlanta’s team leader in hits (43) over the last month? I haven’t checked the unwritten rules in a while but this seems like it would be one of the top ones.
Freddie Freeman: Oooh, Freddie Freeman is slugging harder (.682) and has more XBH (4) and is drawing more walks (5) than anybody else on the Braves in the past week, amazing. Give it a rest, Freddie. Your endless success is so uninteresting; maybe throw in a few failures now and then to spice things up. Maybe, like, this weekend you could fail a little. Perhaps.
Adonis Garcia: What a surprise. A man named “Adonis” is comin’ in hot.
Adonis Garcia since All-Star break: 294/.343/.485— Josh Brown (@santoniobrown) September 1, 2016
Freddy Galvis: Freddy has 15 home runs this season in 130 games; his previous high was last year’s seven, in 151 games. Actually, 15 is higher than his home run total of 2014 (4) and 2015 combined.
Odubel Herrera: El Torito leads the Phillies in hits over the last week (7), last month (23), and is second only to Cesar Hernandez in hits since the All-Star break (40; Hernandez has 42).
No One Else on the Phillies is Really Hitting that Well: They were outscored in that Nationals series 9-3. They were outscored in the Mets series that preceded it 22-10. This team can really suck sometimes.
Jorge De La Cruz vs. Jeremy Hellickson, 7:05 p.m.
De La Cruz has a 6.60 ERA in his last four starts. He has received zero run support in five of the eight career starts. He is not the anchor of this rotation, and thus could be abused by a squadron of even mediocre hitters. I’ll let you know if the Phillies find some.
The story of Hellickson’s time with the Phillies was officially made a month longer the other day when they pulled him back off waivers, preventing him from being traded for the rest of the season. Now he’s got four more magical weeks in red pinstripes, where he can put that 3.54 post-All-Star break ERA and lowest BB/9 of his career (2.1) in seasons in which he’s made at least 13 starts to
John Gant vs. Vince Velasquez, 7:05 p.m.
I’ve completely given up on knowing who Braves pitchers are. Gant was once traded for Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson. His name rhymes with “Ron Gant,” who also played for the Braves (and the Phillies! The More You Know).
The Phillies are on the verge of cutting VV off for the rest of the season - he’s up 124 IP so far - and the kid wants to make the most of his remaining time. That time included twin shellings by the Dodgers earlier in August and no starts longer than 6.0 IP since July 19. Maybe he’s the kind of hurler who starts and ends his seasons with the best pitching performances of his career. Look out, Braves.
Julio Teheran vs. Jake Thompson, 1:35 p.m.
"It sounds weird to see that my first win at home is almost at the end of the season," Teheran told reporters after the Braves miraculously provided him some run support in his last start. Sunday afternoon’s going to be a real barn burner, folks.
In the other corner, Jake Thompson will emerge, coming off the best start of his career in which he held the Nationals to two runs in the first inning and allowed little else to happen. A pitcher who can do that to the playoff-bound division leaders should be able to handle the Braves lineup. But hey, let’s see him go seven innings and not give up six or seven runs again before we start making bold claims like that.