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What’s the time? It’s time to get ill: Phillies vs. Braves series preview

Memorial Day weekend and a series against the Braves. The Phillies need to get their act together now.

MLB: NLDS-Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies
It didn’t go well for Spencer Strider the last time he faced the Phillies
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies haven’t gotten off to the start we hoped they would, and now that Memorial Day weekend is here, we’ve reached the unofficial “It’s no longer early” point of the season. Presuming the goal is still to make the playoffs, the Phillies need to put their struggles behind them and start to win games on a consistent basis. A four-game set in Atlanta seems like a perfect time to start such an endeavor.

Atlanta Braves

Record: 30-19, First place in National League East

The manager

What can you say about Brian Snitker that hasn’t been said about any other bland manager who was given a lot of talent on the roster? Braves fans seem to like him right up until he has to actually do something like manage the bullpen.

The last time they met

It was the NLDS. The Braves never stood a chance.

What’s the deal with the Braves?

They’re off to a good start with the second most wins in the National League. Those wins are largely because they’ve taken advantage of the weak teams on their schedule, going a combined 11-1 against the Reds, Royals, Cardinals, and Nationals. They’ve also dominated the Marlins (6-1) because the one constant in baseball is that the Marlins will roll over for the Braves every time they play.

Boo this man

It’s the Braves. Boo them all.

Lazy Ronald

Ronald Acuna, Jr. is off to another good start at the plate, but there are questions about his effort in the field. Remember when Acuna couldn’t be bothered to back up the play, leading to an inside the park home run?

I suppose he can be forgiven for not trying his best there. With 162 games, it's hard to be 100% motivated in all of them.

Oh wait, that wasn’t a random game in the middle of the season? That was the playoffs? Oh, that’s bad then. And things don’t seem to be improving.

If I was a Braves fan (Thankfully I’m not!) I’d be getting really annoyed if my star player could play good defense but didn’t because he was lazy.

Not sending their best

The Braves scheduled starting pitchers for this series are not the most intimidating group ever. That doesn’t mean the Phillies’ hitters won’t spend the next four days swinging wildly and leaving runners stranded, because there’s always a decent chance of that. I’m just saying the Braves aren’t exactly rolling Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz out there. Here’s who we will see instead:

Thursday - Dylan Dodd who has bounced between AAA and the majors, putting up a 6+ ERA at both levels.

Friday - Rookie Jared Shuster whose minor league success has yet to consistently translate to the majors.

Saturday - Charlie Morton, who is 39 years old, gave up six runs in his last start, and has not had much success against the Phillies lately. He couldn’t make it past the second inning in his lone NLDS start, and when he faced them in September, they battered him for six runs.

Sunday - Spencer Strider will get the ball on Sunday night’s ESPN broadcast. I don’t think anyone needs to be reminded the last time Strider faced the Phillies. (But I’m going to remind you anyway!)

Set the tone, Aaron

Aaron Nola will start the series opener on Thursday night, and he needs to set the tone for the series. Phillies pitchers have too often put the team in an early hole, so it would be nice if Nola can keep the Braves off the scoreboard in the early going.

The Braves as an MCU villain

Loki

One of the “big bads” of the MCU, Loki has had his share of successes, even though sometimes it feels like it’s all the result of trickery. But in the end, Loki usually gets his comeuppance and it’s glorious to behold.

Is this

much different than this?

A friendly suggestion

Remember when the Braves said they wouldn’t encourage the fans to do the tomahawk chop anymore? That definitely isn’t the case anymore.

I’d prefer if the Phillies pitchers completely stifle the Braves’ offense so we don’t have to hear that nonsense, but if it does happen, just turn down the volume.

Non-Phillies thought

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer, which means that drinking season is about to kick into high gear for many of us. If you’re the type who enjoys your alcohol in seltzer form, may I recommend Bud Light Hard Soda? I was a little skeptical, but these jawns are tasty as hell. They might be too tasty, because I can down way too many of them in one sitting.

The good news is, even as I carry out my Spring slimdown (Hot horse summer incoming), I can have a bunch of these and not worry about too many calories.

Closing thought

I’d like to think that Wednesday’s comeback win was the thing that got the Phillies straightened out and they’ll play winning baseball forevermore. And if anyone believes that will happen, I’d like to ask how you’re enjoying your first year as a Phillies fan.

There’s no reason why the Phillies can’t start to consistently play winning baseball. They’ve got plenty of talent, they just need to play up to their capabilities. And there’s no better time to start than a series against the Braves.

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