Series Preview: Phillies at Braves
The Philadelphia Phillies (9-17) leave Miami after snapping an ugly 5-game losing streak, and will head just north to take on the NL East rival Braves (12-13) in Atlanta. The Braves are coming off a split in a 4-game set with Cincinnati, and are currently tied with Miami in 2nd place in the division standings.
This past week, Atlanta lost infielder Chris Johnson, who was splitting duties at third with Alberto Callaspo, for 3-6 weeks due to a previously broken bone and newly acquired bone bruises from a poor base-stealing attempt. On his injuries, Johnson stated, “The fracture is old from some time before and that’s what they saw in the X-rays last night… I’ve had that for a while. Bone bruises all around it is what is causing all the pain.” He is hopeful to return shortly after his mandatory 15 days on the DL are up.
Atlanta has a middle-of-the-pack offense led by outfielder Nick Markakis (.292/.394/.326, 5 RBI, 15 BB), 1st baseman Freddie Freeman (.284/.346/.505, 4 HR, 11 RBI), and shortstop Andrelton Simmons (.263/.320/.389, 1 HR, 14 RBI). Simmons is also universally considered the best defensive player in the game today.
Still leading the Fightin’ Phils offense are their own slick-fielding shortstop Freddy Galvis (.341/.379/.415, 1 HR, 8 RBI), and rookie sensation Odubel Herrera (.304/.340/.413, 9 RBI, 5 SB), while slow-starter Ben Revere is on the rise; bringing his average to .239 along with 5 stolen bases and 7 RBI.
This three-game series between the long-time rivals will take place at Turner Field, which the Braves are set to move on from following the 2016 season. Turner Field and Citizen’s Bank Park are very similar in dimensions. Turner Field runs 335, 400, and 330 feet to left, center, and right field, respectively. The Bank is 329, 401, and 330 feet to those points.
Aaron Harang (2-2, 2.51) v. Alex Wood (1-1, 4.03) – Coming off his first poor start of the season (6 IP, 5 ER, 9 H, 6 SO, 1 BB), Harang will try to rebound and add to his previous collection of solid starts to his 2015. Wood was not sharp last week when he faced the Nationals (5 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 8 SO, 1 BB). Not pleased after relinquishing a lead, Wood commented, “Usually when I get that early lead, I thrive… When they got those runs, that was disappointing.” Wood, who’s been pretty solid this year, will be looking for a recovery against a weak Phillies lineup.
Chad Billingsley (0-0, ERA N/A) v. Shelby Miller (3-1, 2.17) – Billingsley will return from two elbow surgeries to pitch in his first big league game since April of 2013. In four rehab outings, the longtime Dodgers righty had a 4.74 ERA. He may not be fantastic, but this outing is more about getting reacclimated to the big leagues again and holding his own. In his last start, Miller took a tough loss in a game he pitched relatively well (7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 9 SO, 3 BB). In reference to just a few hard hit balls, Miller commented, “Made two terrible pitches down the middle… We were in the ballgame at that point and just gave it away. It’s on me.” He will be looking for a similar start against the Phils, just with a better outcome.
Jerome Williams (2-1, 4.08 ERA) v. Mike Foltynewicz (1-0, 3.60 ERA) – Williams was simply pedestrian (5 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 SO, 2 BB) against the Marlins last week. He is hopeful to get back on track against the Braves. In his MLB debut, Foltynewicz was pretty good (5 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 SO, 3 BB) against the Reds. Foltynewicz spoke afterward, stating: “The dream about just pitching in the major leagues and getting a win is pretty incredible… My teammates and I celebrated. It was pretty fun. It’s awesome.” Aside from maybe going a little deeper into the game, he is just looking for a replica performance to keep his team in the contest.
Ben Revere – Over the last 10 games, Revere has gone 12 for 39, good for a .308 average. He brought his season average from .172 to .239. This Revere from these last 10 games is the one everyone in Philly had gotten accustomed to seeing. In this series, he will need to continue to be a force atop the lineup. If he does, the Phils will score some necessary runs.
Solid Start for Billingsley – PECOTA projections have Billingsley at 70 innings pitched, a 4-5 record, and 3.99 ERA in 14 games started. If Billingsley ends up somewhere near these projections, he could be a nice trade chip at the deadline. However, he needs to get off to good start to get his confidence going into the season after not pitching in the big leagues for two years. Billingsley is a talented pitcher and keeping the Phillies in the game on Wednesday with a solid start would go a long way for them in the game and potentially the season.
Game 1 (Monday)- 7:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1480AM (Spanish Language)
Game 2 (Tuesday)- 7:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1480AM (Spanish Language)
Game 3 (Wednesday)- 7:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210FM, 94AM, 1480AM (Spanish Language)
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE for Turner Field area
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Sunny, with a high near 81. South wind around 5 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 59. Southeast wind around 5 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 81. Light east wind increasing to 5 to 10 mph in the morning.
Mostly clear, with a low around 60. East wind around 5 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 82. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.
Mostly clear, with a low around 59.
|Johnson, Chris (3B)||05/01||15-day DL||TBD||Left hand fracture||Placed on 15-day DL on May 1; scheduled to be reevaluated in mid-May.|
|Minor, Mike (P)||05/03||60-day DL||TBD||Left shoulder inflammation||Transferred to 60-day DL on May 2.|
|Outman, Josh (P)||04/06||60-day DL||TBD||Left shoulder discomfort||Placed on 60-day DL on April 6.|
|Simmons, Shae (P)||02/12||Out for Season||2016||Recovering from February 2015 Tommy John surgery||Underwent Tommy John surgery Feb. 12.|
|Terdoslavich, Joseph (RF)||05/01||15-day DL||Possibly May||Sprained left wrist||Placed on 15-day DL on April 5 retroactive to April 2.|
|Winkler, Daniel (P)||04/05||60-day DL||Possibly late 2015||Recovering from June 2014 Tommy John surgery.||Placed on 60-day DL on April 5.|
|Hollands, Mario (P)||04/20||Out for Season||2016||Recovering from April 2015 Tommy John surgery||Underwent Tommy John surgery April 8.|
|Lee, Cliff (P)||04/05||60-day DL||Possibly 2015||Left common flexor tendon tear||Shut down from throwing, placed on 60-day DL on March 16.|
|O’Sullivan, Sean (P)||05/02||15-day DL||TBD||Left knee tendinitis||Scheduled to go on Class A rehab assignment May 7.|
|Pettibone, Jonathan (P)||04/28||60-day DL||TBD||Recovering from June 2014 right elbow surgery||Transferred to 60-day DL on April 28.|