We are a quarter of the way through the season, and the Phillies are nowhere near where they wanted to be. They are three games under .500 and eight games behind the first-place Mets. Now, the Phillies are heading to Atlanta for a four-game series to take on the Braves, which will be another tough team to beat.

Just like the Phils, the Braves currently have a 19-22 record on the season. Their offense has been underwhelming, as they are hitting only .224 as a team. The cliché “go big or go home” is a perfect way to describe the Braves so far in 2022—they are fifth in the league in home runs and third in strikeouts. This is a very good fit for a Phillies team that has only allowed 34 home runs in 41 games.

In the offseason, the Braves didn’t make too many improvements. They traded outfielder Christian Pache and some prospects to the A’s in exchange for Matt Olson—Freddie Freeman’s replacement. Olson is an above-average first baseman, but he is nowhere near as elite as Freeman. Olson is hitting .242 to begin his 2022 campaign. Veteran reliever Kenley Jansen is another addition, as he linked a hefty one-year contract with the team after the lockout. His ERA sits at 3.06, but he has an incredible 0.79 WHIP thus far. Atlanta also picked up Darren O’Day to provide additional depth in the ‘pen, but his 2022 season has gotten off to an unexpectedly rough start.

The return of the right fielders

On July 11, 2021, superstar outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. was placed on the 60-day injured list after suffering a tear in his ACL. He missed the entire rest of 2021, the entire postseason, and all of 2022 Spring Training. After all of the time he spent rehabbing, he was finally activated at the end of April. Acuna might not say that he is off to a good start by his standards, but he still has a .298 average and a .903 OPS. If he qualified, he’d be near the top of the charts in more than one category.

Bryce Harper returned to the Phillies’ lineup for the last two games of the homestand, but this will be just his third game back after receiving an injection last Sunday.

An abundance of southpaws

The Phillies will be lucky enough to face two left-handed pitchers to open the series in Atlanta. This suits some of the Phillies’ top sluggers like Nick Castellanos and Rhys Hoskins very well. Hoskins has an OPS of .878 against left-handed pitching, which is much better compared to his .688 OPS against righties. Nick Castellanos has a .366 average against lefties.

For the Phillies, the best thing about left-handed pitching is that it does not effect on Bryce Harper. For his career, his splits against left-handed pitching and right-handed pitching are nearly identical.

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Zack Wheeler (RHP, 2-3, 3.49 ERA) vs. Tucker Davidson (LHP, 1-0, 5.87 ERA)

Game 2: Kyle Gibson (RHP, 3-2, 3.98 ERA) vs. Max Fried (LHP, 4-2, 3.31 ERA)

Game 3: Ranger Suarez (LHP, 4-2, 4.12 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (RHP, 3-3, 4.95 ERA)

Game 4: Aaron Nola (RHP, 1-4, 3.96 ERA) vs. Kyle Wright (RHP, 4-2, 2.49 ERA)

The numbers

  • Run Differential:
  • Phillies: 11
  • Braves: -11
  • Runs Scored Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.49
  • Braves: 4.07
  • Runs Allowed Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.22
  • Braves: 4.34

Game times and broadcasts

  • Monday, May 23, at 7:20pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Tuesday, May 24, at 7:20pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Wednesday, May 25, at 7:20pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB Network, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Thursday, May 26, at 7:20pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP

Coverage for these games will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page.