MLB: Braves look to cap historic month with sweep of Phillies
The Atlanta Braves continue to be hot in June.
The Braves improved to 21-5 this month with a 4-1 victory over the host Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday. Atlanta will now look for a three-game series sweep on Thursday to conclude a key National League East matchup.
Having tied the franchise mark for most wins in a calendar month since the club moved to Atlanta in 1966, the Braves will try to break the record on Thursday.
Adam Duvall homered and knocked in two runs and Matt Olson kept up his torrid pace with a pair of doubles in the Braves’ Wednesday win.
“We’re having a lot of fun right now,” Duvall said during a postgame interview on Bally Sports South. “We’ve been bonding as a team. As we grow closer, it seems like we’re playing better.”
Already rolling, the Braves could get even stronger later in the week. Ronald Acuna Jr., who has been recovering from a bruised left foot, is expected to rejoin the team on Thursday.
“I don’t know if he’ll be available (on Thursday), but (the medical staff) said he was significantly better (on Wednesday),” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It was just going to be a matter of time before he could put weight on his foot. With a bruise, it just takes awhile.”
The Braves will hand the ball to Ian Anderson (6-4, 4.60 ERA) on Thursday. Anderson is 1-0 with a 3.07 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies, all of them last season.
In Anderson’s latest start, on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he struggled a bit and gave up six hits, four runs and four walks in four-plus innings.
“He was just a little scattered,” Snitker said, referring to Anderson’s lack of control. “I was just hoping to get another inning out of him.”
The struggling Phillies will hope for improvement from their offense as they try to avoid a series sweep. Rhys Hoskins hit a home run and double, but the team managed only four hits as a whole in the Wednesday loss.
Nick Castellanos went 0-for-4 for the second straight game as his average dipped to .245.
Kyle Schwarber, who had been carrying the Phillies with 11 home runs in June, also went 0-for-4 and had his on-base streak end at 31 games.
“We didn’t swing the bats well at all,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “It’s been like that the last couple of nights. We need more production from people, and I’m sure we’re gonna get it.”
With Bryce Harper sidelined for a minimum of six weeks following surgery on his left thumb, the Phillies added Darick Hall from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. The 26-year-old slugger went 0-for-4 in his major league debut.
Hall, who was hitting .269 with 20 home runs and 67 RBIs at Triple-A, became the first Phillies player to make his debut batting cleanup since LeGrant Scott in 1939.
“This is everything that you could ever want,” Hall said. “It makes everything that you’ve done up to this point really worth it. You got to the point where you dreamed to be, worked to be, dedicated years of your life for doing and now you’re here.”
Aaron Nola (4-5, 2.98 ERA) is scheduled to start on Thursday for the Phillies. Nola has had a good bit of success over the years against the Braves, going 13-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 26 starts.
In his most recent start, Nola threw seven innings of one-run ball and struck out 10 in a 1-0 loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday. The only run he allowed came on a sixth-inning RBI single by his brother, Austin Nola.
–Field Level Media