A Braves win tonight against the Yankees would serve multiple purposes. With an off day for the Phillies, an Atlanta victory could push the NL East division lead to 3½ games, which would tie their biggest of the season.
Possibly more important than any breathing room this would create, however, is the statement the Braves would make by beating one of the premier teams in the game. During a road trip that many have posited would shape the direction the Braves take at the trade deadline, the Braves are off to a blazing start after sweeping the Cardinals. Proving they can hang with the Yankees’ offensive juggernaut could be cause for celebration, and kick the rest of the season into overdrive.
Ozzie Albies is hitting .475/.500/.650 since moving back into the second spot in the lineup on 6/22, and is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak. Look for him to be aggressive early and often against Yankees rookie hurler Jonathan Loaisiga.
Tonight could also mark the MLB debut of reliever Evan Phillips, as well as the Braves debut of outfielder Michael Reed (albeit in a pinch-hitting capacity), as both were called up earlier today. Reed hit .214 in limited action with the Brewers in 2015-2016, but has been raking for Gwinnett.
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