After dropping the first two games of their series against the Phillies, the Braves will be taking the field at high noon today in an effort to avoid getting swept by their divisional rivals from Philadlephia.
If you like pitching, then you should be in for a treat today. Mike Soroka and Aaron Nola will be pitching for their respective teams, so it would be a pretty big shock if both of these pitchers got knocked around today. Both pitchers are also coming off of some solid performances during their last time out, so confidence should be high for both of the hurlers for today’s contest.
During Nola’s last outing, he managed to hold Boston to just one run over seven innings. He did give up four hits and three walks, but he also racked up nine strikeouts in the process. The Phillies ended up losing the game 2-1 because that’s the type of season that they’re having, but this should serve as a reminder that the Phillies are a very formidable threat whenever Nola is on the mound.
With that being said, the Braves actually knocked Nola around a bit the last time they saw him and they’ve done a pretty good job of taking him on throughout this season. The Braves have faced him for 31 innings and have put up 14 runs against him, which is good for a 4.07 ERA during that time span. Comparatively, Nola will be going into this game with a 3.62 overall ERA under his belt, which is to say that the Braves have indeed been giving him a hard time this season.
While it’s always possible that Nola could reach back and bring out another outing where he goes deep and frustrates the Braves, it seems as if the Braves have finally started to turn a corner against him. Hopefully this will continue to go in the Braves favor and if all goes well, the usual suspects like Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuña Jr. and Josh Donaldson can continue to hit him hard like they have in the recent past.
Meanwhile, Mike Soroka has been either boom-or-bust in his two starts against the Phillies this season. It also lines up with Soroka’s home/road splits as well. Interestingly enough, Mike Soroka has been far better pitching on the road than he has at home — Soroka’s ERA and FIP away from Atlanta has been a sparkling 1.35 and 3.06, while the same numbers at SunTrust Park have been 4.18 and 4.09, respectively. So it’s not really a huge shock to see that in two separate starts of 4.2 innings, Soroka allowed one run in Philadelphia but was dinged for four in Atlanta. Those starts came in July but when it comes to recent times, Soroka has given up seven runs in his past 11 innings at SunTrust Park while limiting his opponents to only two runs over 12 innings on his last two road starts.
When it comes to Mike Soroka, you’d almost wish that the game was being held away from home, since he seems to really thrive on the road this season. Still, you always like to see Soroka on the mound no matter where he’s pitching. If he can put it all together for this start against the Phillies, that’ll go a long way towards getting the Braves that much closer to finally lifting the 2019 divisional flag.
This series between the Braves and Phillies has been surprisingly rough for Atlanta. Their amazing run of form at home in recent times personally lulled me into thinking that this would just be a breeze for the Braves. That clearly hasn’t been the case, as the Braves are now scrambling to avoid getting swept by a Phillies team that is also scrambling to pull off a shocker and get back into a Wild Card spot. The Braves are going to be on their own today when it comes to shaving down the Magic Number and the Phillies aren’t going away quietly — prepare for a hard-fought baseball game today.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, September 19, 12:10 PM ET
Location: SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, MLB Network (out-of-market only)
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network