Meaningful baseball to be played in Philadelphia tonight; Phils host Braves

Philadelphia plays host to the Braves
It's weird to think of a late-May series as pivotal, but if the Phillies expect to play meaningful baseball come September, they'll have to have an answer for the Atlanta Braves.

The two clubs have met nine times already this year, the Braves winning six times while outscoring the Phillies 54-30.

No, nothing will be won or lost this week, but you have to believe if the Phillies falter to the Braves this week it'll weigh heavily on their psyche. A losing record to a divisional foe is one thing, but a lopsided result in a season series is another thing entirely.

Nick Pivetta will be on the bump Monday night, aiming to piece together his third consecutive quality start. Over his previous two appearances, he's surrendered just one run over 12 innings.

If you think about it, this series at Citizens Bank Park is probably the most important for the Phillies since a late-September push for a Wild Card spot in 2012.

Pretty wild, huh?

The Braves counter in the series opener with Mike Foltynewicz who himself has been hot as of late too, coming off a 10-strikeout performance this past week against the Cubs.

These two hurlers matched up against each other on April 28 with Foltynewicz getting the best of Pivetta, tossing six innings while surrendering one run in a Braves 4-1 victory at Citizens Bank Park. Pivetta lasted just five innings for the Phillies, allowing four runs on six hits.

The Phillies return fresh off a five-game road trip having split in St. Louis. The club sits eight games over .500 and just 1 1/2 games off the pace of the Braves in the NL East. The Phillies won't see the Braves following this series until September 20.

It's far too early to scoreboard watch and hype a mid-May divisional series, but boy, isn't this fun?

There will be meaningful baseball in South Philadelphia tonight. We've waited long enough. Enjoy it.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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