The Atlanta Braves are in fantastic shape in mid-September. The team holds a sizable lead on the Washington Nationals for the NL East crown and, as Sept. 17 arrives, Atlanta’s magic number is down to just three. With that as the backdrop, the Philadelphia Phillies are in town for the final series between the rivals this season and Dallas Keuchel takes the ball in the opener at SunTrust Park.
Keuchel has been fantastic in the recent past, blitzing opponents over his last six outings. The veteran left-hander boasts a 0.97 ERA across 37 innings in those starts and that sterling performance brings his season-long ERA down to a more-than-solid 3.35 in 16 starts. His last showing was against the same opponent in the Phillies, with Keuchel navigating six innings while allowing only one run in a 3-1 victory on Sept. 11 in Philadelphia.
In opposition to Keuchel, the Phillies will deploy 27-year-old right-hander Vince Velasquez. Atlanta’s lineup is set up to tee off on right-handed pitching, particularly with Nick Markakis back to join Matt Joyce in the corner outfield spots. In addition, Velasquez has struggled this season, posting an ugly 4.95 ERA in mixed duty between the starting rotation and the bullpen.
The good folks in Las Vegas install the Braves as substantial favorites (in the -170 or -180 range) for this contest and, with a win, the club would further diminish its magic number. There will be some attention on what the Nationals are doing in St. Louis at the same time but, if Atlanta simply takes care of business, a celebration will be happening in the near future.
Stay tuned throughout the evening for all the latest.
Time/Date: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 7:20 pm ET
Location: SunTrust Park
TV: Fox Sports South (Streaming: Fox Sports Go, MLB.tv)
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network