The Philadelphia Phillies took sole possession of the second place in the National League East on Monday, snapping their tie with the Braves by beating them in Atlanta in the first game of their series. The loss knocked the Braves into a tie with the Marlins for third place.
The four-game series continues on Tuesday, with the Phillies looking to put some distance between them and the rest of the NL East pack chasing the Mets.
Neither team is where they want to be, as the defending World Series champions and rebuilt Phillies both hoped to be pushing the first-place Mets, not hovering in a three-team cluster with records below .500, closer to last place than first.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 – 07:20 PM EDT at Truist Park
- Philadelphia has won two straight, recovering their momentum after losing five of six to the Padres and Dodgers.
- The Braves are the first sub .500 team the Phillies have faced in 11 games, and Philly has won 8 of its last 11 against teams with losing records.
- Atlanta has now lost its last two and has won just two series in the month of May.
- The Braves need to salvage game two to avoid leaving the series closer to the worst record in the NL than a Wild Card spot.
Philadelphia Phillies Analysis
The Phillies added several free agents over the offseason and spent over the luxury tax threshold, as management did its part to build a contender. Instead, the Phils have not responded, spending exactly five days above .500—the first five days of the season—and four days at the break-even mark, most recently 10 days ago.
The president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski met with the media before Monday’s series opener in Atlanta and gave the team a vote of confidence, with a “but.”
“I think we have a good ball club,” he said. “I think we realize that. There's a lot of good things, but we also need to play better.”
Always impatient Phillies fans have called for manager Joe Girardi’s head. Dombrowski was supportive of the skipper but, again, that came with a caveat.
Who Starts for the Phillies Today?
Righthander Kyle Gibson will start for the Phillies on Tuesday. He’s 3-2 with a 3.98 ERA. Gibson has given up 16 hits over his last two starts, spanning 9.1 innings.
Atlanta Braves Analysis
The Braves went on a late-season run last year, getting hot and steaming through the playoffs to bring home a World Series title. This year, the team has had trouble sustaining momentum in either direction.
Atlanta has not won or lost more than two games in a row yet this season. By comparison, the Phillies have six streaks of three or more so far this year—of course, only two of them have been winning streaks.
The Braves made a bullpen move before the start of the Phillies series, calling up lefthander Dylan Lee and sending down righty Tyler Thornburg.
Lee pitched for Atlanta in last year’s NLCS and World Series but was sent down at the end of spring training. He has 23 strikeouts in 15.2 innings for Triple-A Gwinnett so far this year. Thornburg, signed in March, was allowing 1.8 runners per inning.
The Braves also made a move in the lineup, starting William Contreras in left field, the first position he’s fielded other than catcher in the Major Leagues. Over his professional career, Contreras had just one other start in left and two at spots other than catcher (right field was the other), both with Gwinnett earlier this year.
Who Starts for the Braves Today?
The Braves will try to avoid their first three-game skid of the year starting Max Fried on the mound. The southpaw is 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA. He’s gone at least 6 innings in his last six starts but has given up 7 runs in his last two starts combined.
Phillies vs. Braves: Picks and Prediction
Look for Philadelphia to win and for runs to be put on the board on both sides.
It’s tough to rely on either team to deliver in this maddeningly inconsistent year for both.
The Phillies seem to be in a better spot right now, and having the big boss in town talking about potential changes is always a strong motivator.
MLB Pick: Over 8 Runs (-105) at BetOnline
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