The Philadelphia Phillies try to snap a two-game losing streak when they take on the Atlanta Braves in the second of a three-game series between National League East rivals on Wednesday night. The first pitch of this contest is scheduled for 7:20 p.m. ET at Truist Park in Atlanta.
The Phillies dropped the opening game of the series on Tuesday night 2-1 to diminish their postseason hopes a bit. Philadelphia is 81-76 and in second place in the NL East, trailing the first-place Braves by 3½ games. Tuesday’s loss eliminated the Phillies from Wild Card contention.
Atlanta won its fourth straight on Tuesday, reducing its magic number to clinch the NL East title to three games. The Braves are 84-72 and have the fifth-best record in the National League.
With Tuesday’s loss, the Phillies know there is no margin for error. Philadelphia could win the last two games of this series to cut the Braves’ lead to 1½ games, but it will need to sweep a road series with the Miami Marlins over the weekend while Atlanta would need to lose its series with the New York Mets.
The Phillies almost came from behind in the ninth inning on Tuesday, loading the bases with one out and scoring once, but they couldn’t push across the game-tying run. Freddy Galvis struck out with runners on the corners to end the game.
Right-hander Aaron Nola will try to keep the Phillies’ hopes alive when he takes the mound on Wednesday. Nola is 9-8 with a 4.64 ERA and will be making his fifth start against the Braves this season.
Noa is 1-1 with a 4.44 ERA against the Braves, allowing six home runs in 24.1 innings. He’s 2-1 with a 6.58 ERA in five starts this month, including a win over Pittsburgh on Thursday in which he went six innings and allowed six runs on six hits, including two home runs. His 219 strikeouts rank fifth in the National League.
The Braves looked like they were going to run away with the NL East just a month or so ago, but they came back to the pack a bit. Now they’re looking to hold on for their fourth straight division title.
“The guys can taste it a little, knowing where we are,” Atlanta pitcher Charlie Morton said after Tuesday’s win. “We’re in a really good spot. We’re playing games that everybody wants to play down the stretch.”
Morton threw seven scoreless innings in Tuesday’s win. Left-hander Max Fried will try to repeat that kind of performance on Wednesday. Fried is 13-7 with a 3.12 ERA, though he’s gone 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts against Philadelphia.
Fried is getting into postseason form, though, winning his last six decisions and compiling a 1.59 ERA in five starts in September. He’s coming off a complete-game shutout over San Diego on Friday in which he allowed just three hits while striking out four and walking none.
Outfielder Jorge Soler had a two-run single in Tuesday’s win and has six RBIs over the last three games. The midseason acquisition from Kansas City is batting .260 in September, hitting eight doubles and four home runs while driving in 15 runs and scoring 14 times.
Braves Get Closer
Fried is on a roll on the mound of late and he’ll continue that against the Phillies, who really struggled to put together any offensive attack on Tuesday. Atlanta can taste another division crown, and it gets closer with a win in this one.
When making your MLB picks, take Atlanta to win at home.
Pick: Atlanta Braves -140