A crucial series for the Atlanta Braves starts tonight with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves have a 5.5 game lead on their division rival as of today, but if the team isn’t careful could see their lead shrink to less than 3 games. Dallas Keuchel will face his biggest test as a Braves tonight.
In his Keuchel’s first two starts, he faced tough tests in the form of the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs, both on the road. Both starts have been almost identical. Keuchel has been consistent, pitching 5 innings, 5.2 in the Cubs game, while giving up 8 hits and 3 earned runs in both starts. As a team, the Braves have split both of Keuchel’s early starts. It’s about as good as you can hope for a player who has missed spring training and didn’t make their first start until late June. With the Phillies coming into town, Keuchel has his biggest test coming up.
Unlike the Braves, the Phillies are not playing their best baseball. In their last ten games, the Phillies have gone 5-5. That doesn’t look too bad until you take a closer look at their competition. The Mets and Marlins have been the Phillies opponent in their last three series. A four-game sweep of the Mets, a team that was in the midst of a 7 game losing streak, accounts for 4 of the 5 Phillies wins in their last 10 games. The Marlins, the team at the bottom of the NL East, are responsible for 5 of their losses, however, one three-game sweep and another series loss. Dallas Keuchel has to take this opportunity to capitalize on the fledgling Phillies.
Dallas Keuchel was brought to Atlanta to pitch in games like these. NL East opponents are critical games for the Braves. In 2018, the Braves had a record of 49-27 against the NL East. The Braves won 90 games last season, which means more than half of those wins came from NL East competition. This season, in 85 games, the Braves are 18-12 against the NL East. These three-game series with the NL East team that is on your heels are so crucial for the Braves success moving forward. Keuchel has a chance to put his exclamation mark on this series with a good start tonight.
The Braves will send out Dallas Keuchel tonight to face off with Aaron Nola of the Philles. The Braves have seen Nola twice this season, losing on Opening Day and roughing him up in Philadelphia. First pitch tonight at 7:20.