Phillies vs Braves: How the division race stacks up

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies tips his hat to the crowd after being taken out of the game in the top of the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on June 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 4-3. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 28: Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies tips his hat to the crowd after being taken out of the game in the top of the eighth inning against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park on June 28, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phillies defeated the Nationals 4-3. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 08: Gabe Kapler #22 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on from the dugout during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 8, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

How do the Phillies and Braves stack up head to head?

It’s looking like it will be a two-team race for the NL East that will come down the last week of the season. The Nationals are falling out of the race quickly and the Phillies and Braves are pulling away.

Philadelphia has lost 7 of 12 against Atlanta this year, and they end the year with two of the biggest series in recent team history.

So which team is better: Phillies or Braves?  We’ll break down each aspect of the teams and compare them, starting with their offenses.

Offense

Braves: The Braves are among the top ten in baseball in almost every major offensive category. They’re third in team batting average, ninth in on-base percentage, seventh in slugging, and fifth in OPS.

To say Atlanta’s lineup is filled with talent is an understatement. Freddie Freeman is a perennial MVP candidate and has a chance at winning it this year. He’s fourth in the MLB and first among first basemen with a .321 batting average, and has a .403 OBP and a .934 OPS. Oh, and he has 20 home runs and 77 RBI.

In addition to Freeman, Nick Markakis is having a career year at age 34. He’s hitting .318 with 14 home runs and 80 RBI. Without this comeback season from Markakis, the Braves wouldn’t be in this race.

Finally, there is the dynamic duo of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies. Since his debut at the end of April, Acuña has been great. He’s set the table for the Braves lineup, including three straight leadoff home runs and five straight games with a home run. Overall, Acuña is hitting .295 with 19 home runs and 43 RBI in 71 games this year.

Albies has been equally good for the Braves lineup. Albies is second among second basemen in home runs with 21 and sixth in RBI with 62. He leads all second basemen and is twelfth in the entire league in doubles with 33.

The Braves are sixth in the MLB and tops in the NL in runs scored with 594. They’re a young team, but they can score.

Phillies: The Phillies have struggled all season offensively, and inconsistency has been a huge problem for this lineup. They have some really good players, Rhys Hoskins being at the forefront, but he can go very cold at times.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 18: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies gestures after he hit a double in the sixth inning during a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mets defeated the Phillies 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 18: Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies gestures after he hit a double in the sixth inning during a game against the New York Mets at Citizens Bank Park on August 18, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Mets defeated the Phillies 3-1. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Odúbel Herrera is another streaky player, starting the season as an MVP candidate at the and now losing playing time to Roman Quinn. As bad as it can get when the offense is cold, it can be just as good when everyone is hitting well.

Rhys Hoskins has 25 home runs and 77 RBI with a .257 average and a .369 OBP, despite missing time with a broken jaw. He’s a streaky hitter, but he can put this offense on his back when he’s at his best.

There are a few surprises this year as well. Nick Williams is having a good year after starting the year in a platoon with Aaron Altherr and Maikel Franco has been outstanding since May. Williams is hitting .265 with 17 home runs and 49 RBI, while Franco is hitting .281 with 20 home runs and 61 RBI.

The additions of Wilson Ramos, Justin Bour, and Asdrúbal Cabrera have helped the lineup, and the team has much more depth offensively now.

Advantage: Atlanta

The Braves are better offensively than the Phillies. They’re dangerous up and down the lineup and have multiple players that can change a game just like that. The Phillies have dangerous hitters in their lineup, but they don’t get production on a consistent basis.

For that reason and the top-ten production from the Braves offense gives them the advantage in this category.

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