The Braves finished their three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday with a 12-6 win. With the win, the Braves were able to win the three-game series and extend their NL East lead to 6 games. A three-game series with the Miami Marlins before the All-Star break has a chance to put the Braves in a great position going into the second half of the season.
The rubber game of the Braves-Phillies series pitted Mike Soroka and Zach Eflin against each other. Coming into this game, Mike Soroka has been the ace of the Braves staff. However, after the top of the 1st inning, the Braves were trailing 4-0 after giving up three singles to Harper, Realmuto, and Hernandez. The Braves were immediately thrust into unfamiliar territory after the bad first inning from Soroka.
A four-run deficit was not enough to deter the Braves, however. The Braves offense cut the lead in half in the first inning with a Dansby Swanson solo home run and a double from Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. The Phillies lead was erased in the second inning by Ronald Acuna and Swanson hitting a double. The Braves took the lead in the third with a three-run home run from Ozzie Albies, and never looked back. The Braves padded their lead with home runs from Freeman, Josh Donaldson, and another one from Swanson. This offense continues to hum like a well-oiled machine. Last night was much of the same.
With the win last night, the Braves extended their NL East lead back to 6 games. After the series opener and Aaron Nola’s game, the Braves lead had shrunk and looked in danger of becoming smaller. The Braves had other ideas. In the last two games of the series, the Braves outscored the Phillies 21-8 after being shutout in the opening game of the series. This is the kind of exclamation point the Braves wanted to put on the first half of the season. Yesterday’s loss didn’t just extend the Braves NL East lead, but also pushed the Phillies into third place, a half-game behind the Washington Nationals.
The Braves will play a three-game set with the Miami Marlins before next week’s All-Star break. The Braves and Phillies record against the Marlins this season can be seen as a direct reason for the Braves having the lead that they have. This season, the Braves are 8-1 while the Phillies are 6-7 against the Marlins. The great teams win the games against lesser competition, and so far, the Braves have been the better team. With three more games, at home, against the Marlins, the Braves have a chance to extend their NL East lead even more.
The Braves will be sending out Julio Teheran in the opener against Jordan Yamamoto, who has a 2.35 ERA in 23 innings for the Marlins. This opening game should be a good test for the Braves bats, who have been on fire since May. Opening pitch is tonight at 7:20.