The Phillies host the Atlanta Braves in the most important series of the season. The results of this weekend are likely going to determine if the front office packs it in or becomes a buyer at the trading deadline. Basically, this is the series that decides the Phillies season.
The Phillies are entering the weekend series having won 7 of their last 10. The Braves, on the other hand, have lost 6 of their last 10. But the Phils have yet to win more than 4 games in a row all year and now would be the time to reel off a good ten-game win streak. However, with a potent Braves lineup coming to town, this series is going to come down to pitching and the manager.
I’m a big fan of having an everyday lineup. However, Gabe Kapler seems to have a different approach than I do, which was recently bolstered when they won two in a row with a sub-par lineup. The Tigers are not a good baseball team, however, it was a must sweep series. Kapler decided to give Bryce Harper a day off, the day before a scheduled off day was a head-scratcher.
There are those saying that Kapler’s decision to rest Harper was a good choice because the Tigers are bad. Well, we just saw another bad Kansas City team sweep the Braves. The fact that the season is hanging in the balance. each game is almost a must-win. Kapler has to play his top players.
Since Matt Klentak made some pitching moves during the dodger series, the bullpen seemed to figure things out. The last 7 games, the bullpen has come up big. Phillies relievers have pitched 24 innings, only giving up 2 earned runs.
RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!
For those of you who don’t know, the Army Ranger slogan is “RANGERS LEAD THE WAY!” Anytime I can get a shout out to fellow Rangers, I will. In this case, it’s Ranger Suarez. The rookie starter turned reliever has been really good.
Suarez made his season debut on June 10th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He gave up 4 earned runs in 4 innings. Since then he has pitched 13.1 innings in ten games giving up just one earned run. He has 17 strikeouts and only walked four. He is 3-0 on the year. I think it’s safe to say the 23-year-old from Venezuela has found a home in the bullpen.
Pivetta and Irvin settling into new roles
Following Suarez’s transition to the bullpen are two fellow starters in Nick Pivetta and Cole Irvin. Both have made relief appearances in the last 7 games. Irvin has one appearance pitching two scoreless innings. Pivetta has pitched 5.2 innings in two games, giving up one earned run.
In all the relievers have been getting it done recently. This trend will need to continue if the Phillies hope to take this series and gain ground on the Braves and Nationals. Either way, it’s going to be a fun series.
Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports