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2020 Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (9-11) at Atlanta Braves (14-11)


After 22 games up in the northeast, the Philadelphia Phillies are making their first trip down south of the season.

At 9-11 on the season, the Phillies enter this series coming off being swept in yesterday’s doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays. They enter the evening in fourth place in the National League East but two games out of first.

Aaron Nola is looking to be a stopper for the Phillies on Friday. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

“Frustrating, really frustrating. We had a chance to win two games. We lost leads in both games late and those are frustrating but you have to turn the page, you have to be ready to play tomorrow and put this behind you,” Joe Girardi said after yesterday’s doubleheader to the collective media including Phillies Nation’s Destiny Lugardo.

As the trend has been all season, the inexperience and inconsistency of the bullpen showed late-game in both games yesterday. When the bullpen was called upon on in the sixth and seventh innings, they entered both games with a lead. However, they didn’t hold those leads as the bullpen gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings over both games. Giving up leads happens in baseball, it is a part of the game, but when it happens in a seven-inning game, it brings a bigger meaning. In reference to a 60-game season, yesterday’s results can be the difference between making or breaking of receiving a spot in the playoffs.

“Obviously we know everything that is going on right now and obviously we don’t want that, we want to do a better job and everything. This game is about adjustment and the guys we have in the bullpen, some guys have a lot of experience and they know how it is about adjusting,” José Álvarez told the collective media including Phillies Nation’s Destiny Lugardo and Tim Kelly following yesterday’s 9-8 loss. “We still have a month and a half for a season and we have a chance and think we are going to make the big adjustment by the end of the season.”

The Phillies have scored just three runs after the first inning during their three-game losing streak. Obviously, the production following the opening frame will have to improve for the Phillies to compete with and win against the Braves this weekend.

Shibe Vintage Sports Probable Pitchers

  • Game 1: RHP Aaron Nola (2-1, 2.05 ERA and 2.27 FIP) vs. LHP Max Fried (3-0, 1.24 ERA and 2.35 FIP)
  • Game 2: RHP Zack Wheeler (3-0, 2.81 ERA and 3.53 FIP) vs. LHP Robbie Erlin (0-0, 5.40 ERA and 4.84 FIP)
  • Game 3: RHP Zach Eflin (0-1, 5.14 ERA and 2.79 FIP) vs. Josh Tomlin (1-0, 2.35 ERA and 1.60 FIP)

With Aaron Nola on the mound for Game 1, the Phillies should have a better chance of getting the win in the first game of this series. Nola, 27, is coming off another strong start. As noted by Phillies Nation’s Jonny Heller, Nola, following his last start, became the first Phillies pitcher since David West in 1994 to throw three consecutive outings with 6+ IP and three or less hits.

Wheeler, who will start Saturday, has induced eight double play ground balls this season. The longtime New York Met has forced the opposition to leave runners on base 75.2% of the time in his four starts this season.

Sunday is a big start for Eflin, who has lost each of his last two starts. The right-hander struggled in his last start against the Red Sox specifically with his command.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets

  • Harper will be off in Game 1, with Girardi suggesting that he felt Harper was tired after playing in both halves of Thursday’s doubleheader.
  • Joe Girardi is three wins away from his 1,000th career managerial win. He will join former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel as the only Phillies managers to get 1,000 wins.
  • J.T. Realmuto is hitting .333/.313/.867 with five hits, three extra-base hits and five RBIs in 16 plate appearances all-time against Max Fried.
  • Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, have combined to go 5-1 with a 2.42 ERA (14 ER, 52.0 IP), 49 strikeouts and 10 walks to start this season.
  • According to Elias Sports Bureau, Bryce Harper is the first player in franchise history to have multiple 21 game on-base streaks to start the season. In 2019, Harper reached base safely in each of the Phillies’ first 21 games.

Ticket IQ Programming Information

  • Game One: Friday at 7:10 on NBC Sports Philadelphia + and Sportsradio 94 WIP
  • Game Two: Saturday at 7:10 on NBC Sports Philadelphia and Sportsradio 94 WIP
  • Game Three: Sunday at 7:08 on ESPN and Sportsradio 94 WIP

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