Live Thread: Braves Phillies Preview (Game 1)

Braves Vs Phillies Preview and Live Game Thread

Please take a moment to read our brief preview of the Braves / Phillies series, and then hang around with us here for our Live Thread of tonight’s game.  Just scroll down after reading the preview, and join us to comment about all things Braves!  We’ll have a live thread for each game of the series.  Now, let’s get started…

The magic number for the Atlanta Braves is down to a mere 10 (lowest in baseball).  Put simply, that means that any combination of wins by the Braves, or losses by the 2nd place Washington Nationals that equal up to 10, and the Braves will clinch the NL East.  It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion at this point.

Coming off a series victory against the visiting New York Mets, and a nine game home stand, the Braves will be trying to further reduce that magical number as they’ll take to the road again tonight to begin a three game series against the division rival, Philadelphia Phillies.

For all the bravado spewed forth about how inadequate the Braves are to win a series this year, at least offensively, Atlanta pitching has taken a backseat to no team in baseball.   Besides the fact that Atlanta has won 8 out it’s last 10 games, and are 29-10 over their last 39 games, pundits and analysts often ignore the fact that what has gotten the Braves where they are has been pitching.  No, the bats have been lively when they’ve been needed, but Atlanta’s starting rotation has made quality starts in 19 of their last 28 games, and lead the National League  with 86 quality starts this year.  That kind of pitching, despite all the injuries to the Braves starters and relievers this year, is prowess that cannot be ignored.

You might be thinking something like… That’s all good, but you gotta have offense going down the stretch!  You’d be correct, and it would be a mistake to assume the Braves don’t have that either.  No, they may not have the star power you see in other teams, or players who get ESPN exclusives on a daily basis, but the Braves can rake.  Just ask Andrelton Simmons who’s been on an upswing offensively for awhile now.  Or you could ask Chris Johnson who’s competing for a batting title.  You could ask Freddie Freeman, who’s often overlooked even with amazing numbers this year.  Good pitching, good defense, good bench bats, and clutch hitting have propelled the Braves to where they are.  I agree the NL East is a weaker division, but the Braves huge lead there is no mere accident.

Whether the Braves have the chops to win a series might be another matter, but you cannot make any such conclusion quite yet.  There’s still much baseball to be played, and anything can happen in October.

Probables

Game 1

Atlanta: Mike Minor (13-5, 3.08 ERA)
Philadelphia: Cliff Lee (11-6, 3.09 ERA)

 

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Tags: Atlanta Braves FanSided

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