An 9-4 win on Sunday prevented a series sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves for the Philadelphia Phillies, but it did not stop the continual discussion of the seeming lopsided rivalry between the two teams. Despite the two teams splitting the 12 games they’ve played thus far this season, with the exception of the opening weekend of the season, the Braves seem to have the Phillies number.
Here are three numbers to show how the Phillies have truly fared against the defending National League East Champion Braves, who are seemingly on track to win the division again.
6.88: ERA vs. Braves This Season
Phillies pitching got demolished this weekend, continuing a season-long trend against the Braves. In 12 games, Atlanta has slugged 26 home runs to go with a .916 OPS that is only second to the Dodgers for teams with at least six games against the Phillies. This continued this weekend when Phillies pitchers allowed 28 runs in only three games. Starters Zach Eflin and Jake Arrieta struggled greatly, and even Aaron Nola had a mini-meltdown in the seventh inning of Sunday’s game.
This trend epitomizes the seasons both teams are having: the Phillies have gotten decent support from their offense, but both starters and relievers have failed to keep games close enough to be winnable. Meanwhile, the Braves have a juggernaut lineup that prevents an offense of the Phillies caliber from keeping games close.
.819: OPS Against Braves Pitching
The one thing the Phillies have been able to do to some extent against the Braves is hit. Their 21 home runs against them trails only their total against the Mets (26), and several players have played the role of key offensive contributor at some point during the season. Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto have both hit grand slams against the Braves, and Bryce Harper has added five home runs on the season against Atlanta.
This past weekend, the most significant contributors included Adam Haseley and Jean Segura. Haseley’s five hits included two home runs, a skill he has shown in his somewhat brief stint in the majors thus far. Meanwhile, Segura is starting to get hot again, adding six hits of his own in the series prior to getting hurt in Sunday’s game.
Whether it’s the National League East or one of the two National League Wild Card slots, the Phillies need their offense to perform at a level similar to how they have against the Braves if they hope to snap a seven-year postseason drought.
-23: The Phillies Run Differential Against The Braves
Despite splitting the season series thus far 6-6, the Braves have truly outplayed the Phillies in their matchups this season. This is especially apparent when removing the first series of the season between the two teams:
Since the Phillies swept the Braves in the first weekend of the season, the Braves have won six of nine matchups and outscored the Phillies 78-43.
— Jonny Heller (@jonnyheller) July 30, 2019
Of course, those first three games of the season count, but the other nine came within the last two months and are a much better indication of how the teams match up currently. A minus-35 run differential in these nine games signifies that the Phillies are no where close to the Braves. The leads you to think that the Wild Card may be their only path to the postseason.
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