Phillies set to open series in Atlanta against rival Braves

Phillies Braves
The Phillies will open a three-game set in Atlanta tonight against the division-rival Braves at Truist Park. The Phillies swept the Braves in the season-opening series for both clubs last week at Citizens Bank Park. 

The Phillies relied on spectacular pitching in the sweep with starters Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler, and Zach Eflin, allowing three earned runs over 20 2/3 innings, striking out 24, and walking one. 

"When you can limit that lineup to as few runs as we have, that's pretty special," said Phillies skipper Joe Girardi. 

The Phillies followed the series with the Braves by taking two-of-three from the New York Mets. J.T. Realmuto collected five RBIs in the three-game set while the rotation and bullpen both again performed solidly. 

Now 5-1, this marks the first time since 2011 that the Phillies have won their first two series to open a season. It also helps that the club's first 13 games are against NL East foes, so a strong start should also carry some weight in what is expected to be a tight divisional race. 



"These April games are just as important as those later in the year," Girardi said. 

Wheeler will start the series opener tonight, looking to repeat his seven scoreless inning performance from a week ago. He whiffed ten and became the first hurler for the Phils since Roy Halladay in 2010 to toss at least seven frames, strike out at least ten batters, walk no one, and surrender one hit or less. Oh yeah, he also went 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in a pair of runs in an impressive 4-0 win over the Braves. 

“Shoot, it’s hard to beat a guy like that on the mound if he’s also beating you at the plate," Rhys Hoskins said following Wheeler's performance. "Easy game, right?" 

The Braves counter tonight with veteran Charlie Morton. The Phillies chased the righty in the fifth inning on Saturday after he coughed up three runs on six hits. He walked two and whiffed five. 

Atlanta took two-of-three earlier this week from the Washington Nationals and enter play tonight 2-4.

Tonight's lineup
McCutchen 7 
Hoskins 3 
Harper 9 
Realmuto 2 
Bohm 5 
Gregorius 6 
Segura 4 
Haseley 8 
Wheeler 1

Odds and weather 
Temps will hover around 70 degrees for the first pitch, with winds blowing from the south at about ten mph. The Braves are favored at -126 with the over/under set at 7.5 runs.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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