The Phillies may be sitting comfortably in last place in the East, but do not be fooled — this team has actually been playing some decent baseball in the latter stages of this season. In fact, they’ve been playing around .500 baseball since the All-Star break, and even though the Braves finally took a series against them the last time they met, I think we all know by now that this Phillies team should not be taken lightly at the moment and the Braves also aren’t really in a position to be taking anybody lightly.
This will also be the final series of 2017 in which the Braves can get acquainted with Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins has basically hit the ground running for Philadelphia and has already compiled 2.4 fWAR over 41 games. To put that in perspective, Cesar Hernandez is the Phillies leader in fWAR this season and it took him 120 games to pick up 2.8 fWAR. Granted, there is absolutely no way that he will maintain a .429 ISO over his career, but Hoskins appears to be the real deal and is an example of the youth movement that’s underway in Philly right now.
Another example of their youth movement will be starting the game for them tonight, as Ben Lively will take the mound for the Phillies as the starter. Aside from only lasting three innings against Oakland in his last start, Lively has been pretty consistent in his role, and he even went seven innings and only allowed three runs in his last outing against the Braves.
Meanwhile, Sean Newcomb will be out to improve upon a decent start against the Mets in his last time out. Also, Newcomb has been credited with three earned runs in 11 innings (with 10 strikeouts and four walks) so far this year against Philadelphia, so hopefully he can continue to keep the scoring at a minimum for the opposition from Pennsylvania.
This series is probably going to be similar to how the Mets series was last weekend in that both teams are really playing out the string with an eye on 2018 — except the Mets were also doing it in order to get some relief from a horrific 2017 season. The Phillies are actually ending the year relatively strong, and the Braves are starting to see the flashes of potential from the guys who are coming up — signs that remind you why their farm has been so highly-touted as of late.
Game Date/Time: Friday, September 22, 2017, 7:35 pm ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports South, MLB.tv (streaming)
Radio: 680 AM, 93.7 FM 106.7