The Braves were able to take a hard-fought series from the Philadelphia Phillies, taking two of the three games, to extend their lead in the NL East to two and a half games. Though, just a series in June, both teams got answers about their team over the weekend.
This three-game series showed that the separation between the Braves and Phillies is slim, to say the least. The first two games were split by both teams after implosions from the bullpen. On Friday, the Braves were able to overcome a three-run deficit in the 9th inning to overcome the Phillies in the opening game of the series. However, the Phillies paid the Braves back the next night by scoring two in the 9th inning to take the second game of the series. The Braves controlled the rubber game from the start, however. On Sunday, the Braves scored in every inning, other than the 2nd and 8th, to beat the Phillies 15-1. It an exclamation mark on a series where the Braves solidified their lead over their divisional rival and setting the tone for their next meeting which will be in a couple of weeks.
There were a lot of positives to take away from the weekend series. The first, and most important for the Braves going forward, has to be Josh Donaldson. In the three-game set, Donaldson went 7 for 13 with three home runs, one in each game, and 7 RBI. This kind of weekend is what Braves fans have been waiting to see from Donaldson, and it came at a perfect time with the Braves fans and media starting to ask questions about Donaldson’s production. It was an offensive kind of weekend with big numbers from Acuna, Riley, Freeman, Albies, Markakis, and Swanson. Tyler Flowers and Brian McCann also were big contributors on the weekend. With the offense clicking on all cylinders, the Braves look like they can score against any team in baseball.
It was mostly good this weekend, but that doesn’t mean it was a perfect weekend. Once again, the Braves blew another game late in the game, a game that meant the difference between a sweep and a 2-1 series win. Sean Newcomb, who was pitching for Kevin Gausman, took a line drive off the back of his head after looking good in his time in the game. Luckily, for Newcomb and the Braves, it’s being reported Newcomb will avoid landing on the IL. The Braves old problems, the bullpen, flared up this weekend, but the one positive we can take away from that is the Phillies are in the same boat, if not worse. Braves fans have to give this bullpen as much patience as they can spare. It’s going to be a very long year with the bullpen as assembled, but there is no answer coming through the door anytime soon. This is what the Braves have moving forward, ups and downs included.
The Braves will stay at home this week with the New York Mets coming into town for a three-game set before going back on the road. Mike Soroka will be looking to bounce back after his first shaky start of the season, while the Braves will be looking to continue this momentum to extend their lead over the Phillies.