MLB: Braves forge ahead without Ozzie Albies vs. Phillies
The Atlanta Braves secured a series victory and captured their 90th win of the regular season in front of the home crowd.
But they also lost Ozzie Albies with a fractured right pinky finger sustained as he slid head-first into second base in the fourth inning of a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.
Now the Braves (90-55) will go for the three-game series sweep when they host the Phillies on Sunday afternoon.
Albies, who could potentially return during the playoffs, just came back to the lineup Friday after three months away recovering from a fractured left foot.
“I hate it for him. My heart breaks for him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the two-time All-Star. “After everything he went through to get back here, it’s horrible for him.”
Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a home run and double and drove in all four runs. It was the second straight game that Acuna had gone deep. He also made a couple of stellar throws from deep in right field.
“I haven’t changed anything particularly (on offense),” Acuna said during a postgame interview on Bally Sports South. “Just continue to work every day and I think we’re starting to see some good results.”
The Braves will hand the ball to right-hander Spencer Strider (10-5, 2.72 ERA) on Sunday.
Strider is 3-0 with a minuscule 1.17 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Phillies.
The Braves have won seven consecutive games at home.
The Phillies will aim to snap a three-game losing streak in the series finale.
After surging to 18 games over .500, the Phillies (80-65) fell to the Miami Marlins and have now dropped two in a row to the Braves.
Matt Vierling hit a double and sacrifice fly to knock in two runs, and Bryson Stott added two hits and an RBI on Saturday.
“I think we’ve got a great group in here that’s going to fight (Sunday),” Bryce Harper said.
The Phillies still remain in good position to eventually secure their first playoff berth since 2011.
“We’ve got a tough schedule,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “We’ve got to battle through it. I just loved the fight of the ballclub tonight. We kept grinding.”
Thomson was asked if he was watching the scoreboard of other teams, and he quipped “since spring training.”
Beginning Sunday and through the rest of the regular season, the mission is simple.
“We’ve got to win ballgames,” Thomson said. “If we play like we did tonight, we’ll win ballgames.”
Rhys Hoskins took batting practice and was available to pinch hit despite a sore right hand. Thomson hinted that Hoskins would be back in the lineup Sunday.
Edmundo Sosa is expected to be sidelined for three weeks with a strained right hamstring, however.
Left-hander Bailey Falter (5-3, 3.80 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Phillies.
Falter, who has never faced the Braves, is 5-0 with a 2.43 ERA in five starts since Aug. 20. Falter has been elevated in the rotation with Zack Wheeler on the injured list.
–Field Level Media