Recent Phillies success against Braves a positive sign
Phillies No. 2 starter Zack Wheeler seems to have benefited from the universal designated hitter not returning this season — helping his own cause by going 2-for-3 with a double and a pair of RBI last weekend.
Wheeler has actually hit well against Atlanta since the start of the 2019 season — 4-for-10, with three RBI in his last five games when batting against them. His two hits and one RBI from 2019, while a member of the New York Mets, came at Truist Park — where this weekend’s series will take place.
Zach Eflin followed up a 6.61 ERA and 2.020 WHIP against the Braves in 2019 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.054 WHIP last year. His second start against Atlanta was better than his first — giving up only one run off of four hits, while striking out eight, in seven innings. On Sunday, he pitched to similarly strong numbers.
While there’s no questioning the talent of the Braves — who came up one win shy of advancing to the World Series last year — the Phillies’ recent success against the team is encouraging.
It’s been a while since Philadelphia has had the upper hand in this divisional battle, but with the organization seemingly in a win-now mode under President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski, now could be the time for change.
An important step toward returning to the top is being able to beat the Braves consistently. Another series win would move that one step closer to reality.