The Philadelphia Phillies will look to bring out the brooms in the opening series Sunday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves.
Here what to watch:
Looking to sweep
The Phillies will be looking to complete the sweep of the Braves after winning their first two games of the 2021 season.
The Braves remain winless and are coming off a loss on Saturday to the Phillies where they were only able to get one hit while striking out 14 times without getting a single walk. Zack Wheeler dominated the Braves Saturday on the mound and at the plate.
Wheeler threw seven innings allowing only one hit and one base runner, striking out 10. He allowed zero walks and at one point retired 17 straight. It was the first time in his career he allowed only one hit. What made things even better, Wheeler was 2-for-3 from the plate with a single, double, two RBI, and one run scored.
In just two games, the Phillies bullpen looks completely different than last season.
The bullpen has pitched 5 1⁄3 scoreless innings in the season’s first two games. Last season, the Phillies’ bullpen had back-to-back scoreless games just once last season, which happened in early September.
Archie Bradley and Hector Neris did not allow a hit in two scoreless innings yesterday. Wheeler, Bradley, and Neris combined for a one-hit shutout. They retired 23 straight batters to close out the game and give the Phillies a 4-0 win.
Eflin VS Anderson
Zach Wheeler will take the bump for the Phils on Sunday. Though Eflin may not be as talented as Aaron Nola or Wheeler, he is coming off an impressive 2020 campaign. He went 4-2 with a 3.97 ERA, 3.39 FIP, and a 70/15 K/BB ratio in 59 innings. Eflin also had a bounce-back year against the Braves in 2020 after a forgettable 2019 campaign against Atlanta. In 2019, Eflin allowed 21 runs (12 earned) over 16 1⁄3 innings against the Braves. While last year, he shortened Atlanta to four runs in 12 1⁄3 innings across two starts that resulted in two wins for he and Phillies. Overall, Eflin is 5-3 with a 3.48 ERA against the Braves in his career.
The Braves will put out young right-hander Ian Anderson. Anderson made quite the impression last season posting a 1.95 ERA and a 41/14 K/BB ratio across 32 1⁄3 innings during the regular season before shining in the playoffs. Anderson did not face the Phillies last season, so it will be interesting to see how he goes against a talented lineup.