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2020 Series Preview: Atlanta Braves (18-12) at Philadelphia Phillies (12-14)


Zack Wheeler is pitching well in his first season as a Phillie. (Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The streaky Philadelphia Phillies return to Citizens Bank Park this weekend for a three-game set against the division rival Atlanta Braves.

The Phillies have won three straight after losing their previous five, a streak that came right after the team had a season-high four consecutive wins.

Two of the wins came in Washington against the Nationals earlier this week in a strong offensive showing on Tuesday and impressive pitching performance on Wednesday. Thursday’s game was not played as both teams sat out in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake earlier this week.

At 12-14, the Phillies currently hold the second wild-card spot in the National League following losses by the San Francisco Giants and Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night. The Phillies also sit two games behind the Miami Marlins for the second playoff spot in the NL East.

Since the start of 2019, the Phillies are 11-11 against the Braves. They barely avoided a sweep against them last weekend thanks to a game-winning play at the plate to end the third game of the series.

Shibe Vintage Sports Probable Pitchers

  • Game 1: LHP Robbie Erlin (0-0, 5.14 ERA ERA, 5.52 FIP) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (3-0, 2.76 ERA, 3.47 FIP)
  • Game 2:RHP Josh Tomlin (1-1, 3.93 ERA, 3.43 FIP) vs. RHP Zach Eflin (1-1, 5.12 ERA and 2.74 FIP)
  • Game 3: TBD vs. Jake Arrieta (2-3, 4.32 ERA and 4.63 FIP)

Wheeler has been the Phillies most consistent starter this season, and pitched very well in his last outing against Atlanta but got a no-decision in a tough loss. He has gone at least six innings while allowing two or fewer earned runs in all but one of his starts.

Zach Eflin was originally in line to start Saturday’s game. Girardi confirmed in his media availability Friday that Eflin will indeed make the start and Jake Arrieta will get the ball Sunday. Spencer Howard and Aaron Nola will go Monday and Tuesday.

Eflin has flashed excellent swing-and-miss stuff this season but that has yet to translate into consistency in getting batters out.

Arrieta had an excellent start on Tuesday against the Nationals that was cut short due to a lengthy rain delay. He threw just 54 pitches over the course of five innings.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets

  • Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins is riding a five-game hitting streak, during which he is slashing .304/.429/1.037. The Phillies are 6-1 when Hoskins drives in at least one run.
  • The Braves have three hitters with hit-streaks of at least nine games: Marcell Ozuna (nine), Freddie Freeman (10), and Dansby Swanson (11). The trio hit the Phillies hard in last weekend’s series, slashing a combined .417/.488/.722 and scoring 11 runs over the course of three games.
  • The Phillies are 7-10 this season when they score first. They are 5-4 when the opposition scores first.
  • Bryce Harper has slashed .276/.397/.536 against the Braves throughout his career. His 34 home runs against them is the most he has against any team.

Ticket IQ Programming Information

  • Game 1: Friday at 7:05 pm on NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB Network (out of market) and SportsRadio 94 WIP
  • Game 2: Saturday at 1:15 pm on Fox and SportsRadio 94 WIP
  • Game 3: Sunday at 7:08 p.m. on ESPN and SportsRadio 94WIP

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