BRAVES (90-56) AT PHILLIES (75-69)
7:05 p.m. ET; NBCSP, ESPN, FSSE, MLB.TV
The Philadelphia Phillies (+1.5) will shoot for their second straight victory over the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves (-1.5) on Wednesday.
The Phillies won a hard-fought 6-5 game on Tuesday against the visiting Braves to remain in contention for the second NL wild-card berth. Corey Dickerson homered twice while J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper and Scott Kingery each added a home run.
Despite an array of injuries and inconsistency, the Phillies (75-69) are still alive, two games behind the Chicago Cubs (-1) for the last NL playoff position.
“I think as a club, we just have to play better, to be better as a team and just keep going,” Harper said. “If we get into that wild-card game, after that, nothing else matters.”
The Phillies will hand the ball to right-hander Zach Eflin (8-11, 4.31 ERA). Eflin is 0-2 with a 19.06 ERA against the Braves this season, allowing 17 runs (12 earned) in 5 2/3 innings. For his career against the Braves, Eflin is 2-2 with a 5.02 ERA in five games, all starts.
Last Friday, Eflin gave up six hits and two runs in five innings of a 5-4 loss on the road against the New York Mets (-0.5).
The Phillies will need a strong performance from Eflin to boost their playoff aspirations. They haven’t reached the postseason since winning 102 games in the 2011 season.
With a tough schedule looming, including two more against the Braves to conclude the four-game series, every game is huge.
“As a team, they’re the best in our division,” Harper said. “They go out and play their game every single night. Their gauntlet is pretty tough. I think they’re hitting all cylinders right now, and I think they have all year.”
Despite a rare loss, the Braves (90-56) have remained red hot, winning 10 of their past 12.
For the most part, starting pitching has been a strong point. On Tuesday, though, Max Fried gave up four homers and five runs in five innings.
The Braves will send Dallas Keuchel (7-5, 3.47 ERA) to the mound Wednesday. In his last five starts, Keuchel has given up only three runs, going 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA. Last Friday, he was stellar in a 4-3 win over the Nationals as he tossed six scoreless innings and allowed six hits.
“That’s what I’m predicated on,” Keuchel said of mixing up his pitches. “I make the hitter guess, and I’ve been guessing right for myself.”
Keuchel is 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA against the Phillies this season and 1-1 with a 1.40 ERA in three career games against them.
“That’s how you win, you win with pitching,” Atlanta catcher Brian McCann said. “We’ve got a great bullpen, we’ve got a great rotation and right now, we’re really hitting our stride.”
McCann added of the rotation: “They have been dealing. Guys have been feeding off of each other from start to start.”
On offense, Johan Camargo homered on Tuesday, the 230th of the season for the Braves. Their franchise record is 235, set in 2003.
–Field Level Media