Despite a frustrating performance on Sunday Night Baseball, the Phillies went down to Georgia and danced with the Braves.
They left the series in the same spot that they entered, down seven games back to the Braves in the National League East. The Phillies remain three games below the .500 mark and sit roughly two games back of the final wild-card spot.
While this series wasn’t the inspiring trip we were looking for, there were a lot of good takeaways from this first trip to Atlanta.
Phillies are treading water
There were a lot of outcomes that could have occurred during this trip to Atlanta.
The Phillies entered the series down seven games to the Braves in the division. At best, they could’ve swept Atlanta and had been down only three games. At worst, they could have been swept and left the series back eleven games.
Treading water, the Phils split with the Braves. They made no gains in the standings nor lost any ground.
They lost a very winnable game on Thursday night after the bullpen collapsed late. Friday night, they won a tight game to even the series. Saturday was a brilliant performance by Zack Wheeler, and Wheels carried them to the second win of the series. Sunday, of course, was a forgettable performance, and the Braves even things up at 2-2.
With the new schedule in Major League Baseball, teams will play their division rivals only 13 times over the course of a calendar year. The Phillies will see the Braves 9 more times this season, and 6 of those games will be in Citizens Bank Park.
This gives the Phillies a chance to pass the baton down the road. If they have any chance of winning the National League East, they will have to win the season series against the Braves.
Sunday Night Baseball was just another reminder that you can’t win if you do not have good starting pitching.
Dylan Covey failed to get out of the first inning, and the Braves scored seven runs in the first inning. The Phillies never had a chance in this game, thanks to this brutal start, and they are not in the position to be giving away games.
The Phillies are now 1-9 in games where their 5th starter pitches. If they had even won a couple of extra games, that is the difference between being above and below the .500 mark. It is an area that will need to be addressed.
On the flip side, Zack Wheeler delivered an absolute gem in his start Saturday afternoon. He willed the Phillies to a 2-1 victory and proved how a true ace can deliver a big win when needed. Wheeler went eight innings, allowing just three hits, no runs, and struck out 12 batters.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson