The Philadelphia Phillies cooled off in a tough three-game series loss at the hands of the Atlanta Braves this weekend.
Atlanta was led by its offense, which only scored three runs in three games against the Phillies last weekend but exploded for 19 runs in this series. Specifically, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman both had monster weekends for the three-time defending National League East Champions.
Here are three numbers to remember from this three game set.
6.89 — Starting pitcher’s ERA
Phillies’ starting pitching was brilliant in the opening series against Atlanta, but the second turn through the rotation has not been as productive. Zack Wheeler – who dominated the Braves lineup last week – struggled Friday when he allowed three earned runs and 11 baserunners, while being unable to make it through the fifth inning.
Zach Eflin actually settled in well after a tough first inning, but still allowed four earned runs in sixth innings of work in a loss Saturday. Like Eflin, Matt Moore settled in after a bad first inning but still allowed five earned runs in five innings.
The Phillies’ bullpen is better in 2021 than it was in 2020, and the lineup has the capability to keep them in any game, like it showed on Sunday. But the team will simply need more out of its starters day in and day out to have a chance in this tough division.
Eight — Extra-base hits by Ronald Acuña Jr. and Freddie Freeman
A big reason behind the Phillies’ sweep of the Braves last weekend was that the pitching staff shut down the top of the Atlanta lineup. This did not happen in this series, as Acuña Jr. and Freeman both had their way against Phillies pitching.
Acuña was just on fire, going 9-for-13 with two home runs and three doubles, also making a lead-preserving catch in Friday’s game. Freeman, who went hitless last weekend, hit a home run in each game. He historically tortures the Phillies, and that continued this weekend.
The Phillies are 4-2 against the Braves in 2021, but if this weekend was any indication, it will be a long season for Phillies pitchers against Acuña Jr., Freeman and the rest of the Braves’ dangerous lineup.
Five — Home runs by the Phillies
The Phillies lineup carried the team through the 2020 season — there’s no question about it. But so far in 2020, the lineup has been relatively quiet. Outside of Wednesday’s 8-2 win over the Mets, the Phillies hot start was fueled by excellent starting pitching.
But the offense picked it up somewhat during this series, as four different Phillies — Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and Didi Gregorius — homered.
The team still only won one game in the series, but it was undoubtedly important to see something from the bats. They would not have won Sunday’s game had it not been for an impressive showing, and will need similar performances to carry the team when the pitching doesn’t quite have it going.
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