September 21, 2023

Series Preview: Phillies at Braves, September 28 – September 30


Photo by Dale Zanine/USA TODAY Sports

There’s less than one week left in the season, and the Phillies trail the Atalnta Braves by 2.5 games in the NL East.

Thankfully, the Phils het three games against the Braves this week. If the Phillies win all three — like they did to start the season — they’ll find themselves in first place. If they win the series, they’ll be 0.5 games back. So obviously, this is an absolutely humongous series for the Phillies.

Here what to look out for during this series.

Last time they met, what’s happened since

These two clubs faced off a lot in the first month of the season, but not much since then. The only post-All-Star meeting came in mid-July when they split a four-game series in Philadelphia.

During the second half, the Braves have been the best out of the crappy NL East teams. Their first place spot was established by going 39-27 since the All-Star Game. That record includes a nine-game winning streak (all against bad teams) and come into this series 7-3 in their last ten (also against bad teams).

The Braves have had the fourth easiest schedule in baseball over the final month. The Phils will be the best team they’ve faced in a while.

Must win games

Once again saying those five words: these are must win games.

All three games for a matter of face are must wins.

That sounds unsettling, until you remember that almost all postseason games are must wins. As mentioned earlier, the Phillies swept the Braves to open the season. If they could sweep them once, they can do it again.

What Harper’s been waiting for

It’s a guarantee that Braves fans will boo the heck out of Bryce Harper every time he comes to plate.

History says that he’ll make them pay.

In 33 games at Truist Park in Atlanta, Harper has a 1.022 OPS with 11 home runs. Considering he’s hit a home run in one out of every three games he’s ever played at Truist, it seems very likely that he’ll hit at least one in the series.

And if you think the MVP isn’t ready to do some damage, you thought wrong.

This is exactly what Harper’s been waiting for since he signed that massive 13-year, $330 million contract back on February 29, 2019. It’s Bryce’s time to shine, baby.

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Zack Wheeler (RHP, 14-9, 2.79 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (RHP, 13-6, 3.53 ERA)
Game 2: Aaron Nola (RHP, 9-8, 4.64 ERA) vs. Max Fried (LHP, 13-7, 3.12 ERA)
Game 3: Kyle Gibson (RHP, 10–8, 3.60 ERA) vs. Ian Anderson (RHP, 8-5, 3.60 ERA)

The numbers

Run Differential:
Phillies: -5
Braves: 121

Runs Scored Per Game:
Phillies: 4.60
Braves: 4.92

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Phillies: 4.63
Braves: 4.19

Game times and broadcasts

  • Tuesday September 28 at 7:20pm ET on FS1, NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Wednesday September 29 at 7:20pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Thursday September 30 at 7:20pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP

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