Can rising Phillies continue to dominate Braves this season?

Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies fist bumps J.T. Realmuto #10 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler #45 of the Philadelphia Phillies fist bumps J.T. Realmuto #10 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Alec Bohm #28 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The first three 2021 Phillies-Braves games were low-scoring.

The Phillies followed up a 3-2 extra-innings Opening Day win with a 4-0 shutout and 2-1 victory, respectively last Saturday and Sunday — creating a total of just 12 combined runs in the series.

There were more than 30 combined runs scored in eight of the previous nine series between the Phillies and Braves, dating back to 2019 — with the next lowest being 23 combined runs in a September 2019 set. Probable starters Zack Wheeler, Zach Eflin, and Matt Moore could use more run support this weekend.

Last year, the Phillies offense slugged 20 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .248/.335/.480 slash line against the Braves. Andrew Knapp had the best batting average (.429 in six games), followed by Roman Quinn (.360) and Rhys Hoskins (.343) — both appearing in 10 games. Hoskins’ three homers tied for the most with Andrew McCutchen and Didi Gregorius.

Gregorius produced the most RBI (9), although he hit only .171. McCutchen had eight RBI, while appearing in one less game.

Zack Wheeler and Zach Eflin putting up strong performances against the Braves.

Last Saturday’s winning pitcher, Zack Wheeler, is scheduled to start opposite Charlie Morton in Friday’s series opener. Zach Eflin, who has accounted for two of the Phillies’ last six wins against the Braves dating back to last season, is scheduled to start opposite Ian Anderson on Saturday.

Wheeler followed up a rough 6.26 ERA and 1.957 WHIP against the Braves in 2019 with a 2.13 ERA and 1.026 WHIP in 2020. His 2021 debut was even better — giving up only one hit, with no runs or walks, while striking out 10, across seven innings.