The last time I previewed a series between the Phillies and Braves, it really seemed to strike a chord with Braves fans. I got the impression they really appreciated my take on how the series would go. If any of those new fans are reading this, I’d like to welcome you back to The Good Phight, and I hope you enjoy this preview even more than the last!
Unfortunately, you’re unlikely to enjoy the actual series, because - as you’ll read below - the Phillies are poised to dominate.
Record: 50-35 First place in National League East
The last time they met
Due to getting extremely lucky in the initial game of the series, the Braves escaped with a series victory.
Beating up on the poor Mets
The Braves have spent a lot of time playing the Mets since then. While they’ve won most of those games, defeating the Mets isn’t all that tough to do these days, so I’m not too impressed.
Harper > Acuna
Braves fans have convinced themselves that outfielder Ronald Acuna, Jr is better than Bryce Harper. They love to talk about Acuna doing so much at a young age, while conveniently forgetting something: Everything that Acuna is doing, Harper has already done.
With his 20th HR of 2019, Ronald Acuña Jr. joins these players w/ MULTIPLE 20-HR, 10-SB campaigns by their age-21 season:— Jason Catania (@JayCat11) July 1, 2019
Orlando Cepeda (1958-59)
Carlos Correa (2015-16)
Ken Griffey Jr. (1990-91)
Bryce Harper (2012-13)
Vada Pinson (1959-60)
Mike Trout (2012-13)
It’s also worth noting that Harper has better career numbers at the Braves’ home park than Acuna does. Harper’s career OPS of 1.083 at SunTrust Park is superior to Acuna’s mark, and Harper has hit six home runs in 19 games at the stadium, which is a better rate than Acuna.
The Braves’ supposed answer to fixing their rotation was to sign Dallas Keuchel. However, they are discovering why he was still available on the free agent market in June. Yes, he has a Cy Young Award to his credit, but that was four years ago. (If we’re going to act impressed by past honors, maybe they should bring in Tom Glavine as a guest starter.) In that season, he led the National League in wins. Last year, he led the NL in hits allowed, which is not a category you generally want to be on top of the leaderboard for.
He hasn’t been impressive thus far in his Braves career. After two starts, he has an ERA of 5.06 and has already given up three home runs.
KBoom! Kris Bryant CRUSHES this home run off Dallas Keuchel! Watch the video below: https://t.co/JWAgfpnzW8— Inside the Ivy (@InsidetheIvy) June 27, 2019
He’d better be especially careful when facing Jean Segura who has already taken Keuchel deep twice in his career.
As for the other starter on Tuesday
The Braves actually did well against Aaron Nola the last time he faced them. It’s a shame for them that knocking him out in the fifth inning didn’t help them actually win the game. And considering how he’s pitched lately, that might have been their best chance to beat him this season.
Over his last two starts, Nola has allowed just one earned run with 20 combined strikeouts. It certainly looks like he’s put his early season struggles behind him.
Aaron Nola's 10Ks in 18 seconds. pic.twitter.com/nVXNo45y5S— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 27, 2019
It won’t get any better for the Braves after that
After Keuchel’s start, the Braves are going to throw Bryse Wilson and Mike Soroka at the Phillies. Wilson likely remembers his last start against the Phils, when they scored four runs against him in just 3.1 innings. As for Soroka, his numbers look good this season, but it probably isn’t coincidental that he hasn’t faced the Phillies yet. Are the Braves protecting the young pitcher by ensuring that he doesn’t have to face the deep Philadelphia lineup?
Meanwhile, the Phillies will also send Nick Pivetta and Zach Eflin to the mound this series. Pivetta is 2-0 for his career at SunTrust Park, while Eflin has a lifetime ERA of 1.57 against the Braves.
Speaking of Tom Glavine
Tom Glavine had a long, Hall of Fame career, but I have not come here to praise him today. Instead, I wanted to remind people that he was often a disappointment in postseason appearances. His career record of 14-16 in playoff games is a big reason why the Braves were unable to win more than one World Series during his tenure.
And although it wasn’t technically a postseason game, nor did it involve either the Braves or Phillies, I think this is worth watching:
The edge in patriotism
Since Independence Day will fall during this series, it’s obvious that the more patriotic of the two teams will prevail. So let’s take a look at how the two franchises stack up.
The Phillies play their home games in Philadelphia, the very cradle of American liberty. The team colors are a very patriotic red, white, and blue, and the team logo features the Liberty Bell, which is the most patriotic thing that exists. On the other hand, the Braves are famous for earning massive profits at the expense of unwitting taxpayers, and cultural appropriation....which come to think of it, are pretty American things to do.
I’d say the Braves are as patriotic as a $20 bill, while the Phillies are like George Washington punching Osama Bin Laden while eating an apple pie. The clear edge goes to the Phils.
The Phillies will do to the Braves what the Colonial army did to the British. Maybe the Braves can find a way to eke out a win, but I doubt it.