MLB: Braves ride 4-game winning streak into finale vs. Phillies
The visiting Philadelphia Phillies will send Zack Wheeler to the mound on Wednesday to try to slow the Atlanta Braves and salvage a split of a two-game series.
The Braves pounded the Phillies 13-1 on Tuesday, a win that extended Atlanta’s winning streak to four games and ended Philadelphia’s winning streak at five games. Atlanta to cut New York Mets’ lead in the National League East to 2 1/2 games.
“Our guys have always been good at turning the page and moving on,” Philadelphia interim manager Rob Thompson said. “Anticipate no issues. We’ll be ready to go.”
The Braves will send Charlie Morton (5-5, 4.34 ERA) against Wheeler (9-5, 2.77) in a battle of veteran right-handers.
Wheeler is coming off a win against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday. He allowed two runs on three hits, three walks and eight strikeouts in seven innings.
“I thought it was good,” Wheeler said postgame. “But I also feel like I’m a tick off, and I need to work on that.”
Wheeler had an outstanding July, going 3-1 with a 2.48 ERA and allowing two or fewer runs in four of his five starts. He has pitched into the seventh inning in five of his past six starts.
In two starts against the Braves this season, Wheeler is 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA. He beat the Braves on May 23 and received no decision on June 28. In 23 career starts against Atlanta, Wheeler is 9-7 with a 3.25 ERA.
Morton will try to end a two-game losing streak. In his latest outing, against the Phillies on July 27, Morton pitched five innings and allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, two walks and five strikeouts. He was knocked out after throwing only 84 pitches, his lowest total since May 31.
“I feel like the past month and a half or so, I’ve gotten back to where I was,” Morton said. “It’s just that the aggregate numbers don’t look great. I’d like to be more consistent with the walks, but I really feel like I’ve thrown the ball as well as I’d hoped to coming off a pretty rough month and a half, two months that preceded it. Where I am now, I feel really good.”
Morton has faced the Phillies three times this season, compiling a 0-1 record and 6.00 ERA. In 15 career starts against Philadelphia, Morton is 5-6 with a 4.82 ERA. His last win against Philadelphia came on Sept. 28, 2021, when he fired seven scoreless innings and struck out 10.
The Atlanta offense showed positive signs on Tuesday by collecting 14 hits, three each from Eddie Rosario, Marcell Ozuna and Dansby Swanson. Rosario drove in five runs, and Ozuna had a double and a homer.
Rosario went 1-for-7 and Ozuna was 0-for-7 in the just-completed three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Continued struggles could mean less playing time in the wake of Atlanta’s acquisition of switch-hitting outfielder Robbie Grossman.
“That was nice to see (Ozuna) hit the ball with the velocity he did,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “And I just love the fact that Eddie’s kind of getting his legs under him.”
–Field Level Media