Sunday MLB ESPN Preview: Philadelphia at Atlanta.
Atlanta snapped Philadelphia’s five-game winning streak with an 8-7 victory in 12 innings that involved three dramatic comebacks. The Braves rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extra-innings and later tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the 11th innings. Things looked dire when the Phillies scored three times in the top of the 12th inning, but Atlanta rallied to tie the game again before Ehire Adrianza’s bloop single gave the home team the victory.
The Braves have won four of their last five games to rise to third place in the National League with a 16-17 record. They are one game behind the New York Mets, who have a 15-13 record. All five teams in the division are separated by 3 1/2 games.
Manager Brian Snitker’s team has won three straight National League East titles. They took a 3-1 lead in the NL Championship Series against Los Angeles before the Dodgers rallied to win the next three games to reach (and then win) the World Series.
Outfielder Ronald Acuna leads the team with a .313 batting average. His ten home runs and 23 RBIs are team highs. First baseman Freddie Freeman added his eighth home run yesterday, along with his 19th RBI, but he only has a .197 batting average. Outfielder Marcell Ozuna has 20 RBIs with four homers and a .208 batting average. Atlanta is scoring 4.6 runs per game with a .227 batting average, a .305 on-base percentage, and an OPS of 718. Atlanta kept the core of their lineup intact in the offseason, and they bolstered their starting rotation with the additions of Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly.
The Braves have depth issues at catcher given injuries to Travis d’Arnaud and Alex Jackson. A thumb injury has d’Arnaud on the 60-day IL, and Jackson is on the 10-day IL with a hamstring injury.
Snitker gives the ball to Huascar Ynoa tonight, who comes off seven scoreless innings in his last start at Washington last Tuesday. The 22-year-old right-hander has a 3-1 record with a 2.36 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP in seven appearances including six starts. The Braves bullpen has a 4.56 ERA with a 1.49 WHIP with eight saves and four blown saves.
Philadelphia fell to second place in the NL East with the loss, percentage points behind the Mets with their 18-16 record. The organization hopes for their first winning season since 2011 and to break a nine-year postseason drought.
First-baseman Rhys Hoskins leads the team with eight home runs and 18 RBIs to accompany his .233 batting average. First baseman Bryce Harper adds six homers and 10 RBIs along with a .304 batting average. Catcher J.T. Realmuto has a .313 batting average with four homers and 16 RBIs. The Phillies score 4.2 runs per game, with a .233 batting average, .299 on-base percentage, and an OPS of .680. The team returned the starting lineup from last year that helped them finish tied for fifth in MLB in runs scored.
Manager Joe Girardi turns to Aaron Nola tonight. The right-hander allowed one run in six innings of work in his last start at home against Milwaukee last Tuesday. The 27-year-old has a 3-1 record with a 2.89 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP in seven starts. The Philadelphia bullpen has a 4.94 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP with ten saves and seven blown saves after last night's loss.
BookMaker lists Philadelphia as a -108 money line favorite with the total set at 7.5.
Computer prediction: Philadelphia Phillies 6 Atlanta Braves 1