Phillies set to open pivotal weekend series with Braves at CBP

Phillies welcome Braves for big weekend set
Fresh off a five-game road trip that resulted in four wins, the Phillies return home to Citizens Bank on Friday to open a crucial three-game set with the division-leading Atlanta Braves.

Now at 54-48, the Phillies are six games over .500 and are one game behind the Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals for the final National League Wild Card berth. The Phils train the Braves by 5 1/2 games, a deficit that can be trimmed considerably this weekend. A winning series this weekend could also enhance the plausibility of the club going out and making a splash before next week's Trade Deadline.

Jake Arrieta will start tonight's series opener and aims to ride the positive momentum of his last two starts where he's surrendered just two earned runs over 10 2/3 innings. What he can't deliver length-wise he'll try and provide in grit.

"It's painful, yeah, there's no denying it," Arrieta said last week. "I just need to reinvent a bit and be smart about things."

The Braves counter in the opener with right-hander Mike Soroka who is putting together an outstanding rookie campaign. Through 17 starts he's 10-2 with a 2.46 ERA. He ran into some trouble against the Phils through earlier this year, surrendering four runs on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings in a no-decision.



Beyond the Numbers
Freddie Freeman is a Phillie killer carrying a .412 xwOBA against right-handers, so that could be spell trouble for Arrieta. Meanwhile, Soroka has an extremely high ground ball rate and that could spell doom for the Phils' offense. Atlanta is a -136 favorite, per Fanduel Sportsbook.

The Lineup
Kingery 8
Segura 6
Harper 9
Hoskins 3
Realmuto 2
Hernandez 4
Franco 5
Haseley 7
Arrieta 1
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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