Following the wacky collection of weird incidents that was last night’s win for the Phillies, the Braves are going to be heading back to CItizens Bank Park today looking to even the series and hopefully set the record straight against one of their divisional rivals.
With that being said, it would’ve been real nice if the Braves had held on to the lead they had last night, since tonight figures to be tougher due to the presence of Aaron Nola on the mound for the Phillies. Nola has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season and the Braves got a taste of that back in late-May when he pitched into the ninth inning with just one run allowed while racking up 10 strikeouts and not walking anybody. Nola’s most recent outing actually looked a lot like his start in Atlanta on May 26 did — except this time, Nola kept the Marlins off of the scoreboard completely. He did go 8.1 innings and pick up 10 strikeouts with just one walk, so it was a dominant outing to say the least.
While this could end up being a tough night at the plate for the Braves, this team has proven quite recently that they can in fact hit Aaron Nola hard and score off of him. Back on June 30, the Braves scored four runs on seven hits against Nola. That was the only thing that went right for Atlanta in that game, but let’s just focus on the fact that the Braves can in fact score off of Nola and also Nola usually only has one dominant game against the Braves per season. Here’s hoping that May 26 is the one and only time that he’s going to dominate the Braves this season.
Meanwhile, Spencer Strider will be getting his first crack at taking on the Phillies as a starter. The day before Aaron Nola took the Braves out behind the woodshed, Strider pitched 2.2 innings against Philadelphia and casually sat down half of the 10 batters he faced on strikes. Needless to say, it would be fantastic if Strider continued to rack up the strikeouts while forcing Philadelphia’s lineup to chase the trail of his 100-mph heaters tonight.
There’s also a bounce-back element to tonight’s game, as Strider had a bit of a stinker against the Nationals in his last outing. Fortunately, Strider has proven that he can bounce back — he responded to having a clunker against the Giants on June 21 by throwing six shutout innings against the Dodgers in his next outing, so he’s fully capable of rebounding in a big way.
Speaking of rebounding, a win for the Braves would be especially satisfying after all of the weird stuff that happened in last night’s game. Maybe it’s just a byproduct of playing against a team that refuses to be normal, but it would still be nice if the Braves managed to go out there and establish themselves as the dominant team in this one. Aaron Nola is not infallible, Spencer Strider has what it takes to bounce back from a bad outing and the Braves also don’t usually have long losing streaks. Today’s a good day to avoid that, so hopefully the Braves can get back on a winning note by the end of the night.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, July 26, 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan