UPDATE - The Braves announced that Ronald Acuña Jr. has been scratched from Thursday’s lineup due to tightness in his mid-back. Marcell Ozuna will start in left field with Robbie Grossman shifting over to right.
OF Ronald Acuña Jr. has been scratched from tonight's lineup with mid-back tightness.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) September 22, 2022
Updated lineup: pic.twitter.com/wPpdOvB5xh
The Atlanta Braves head back out on the road Thursday where they will begin a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Atlanta swept Philadelphia at Truist Park last weekend, but the upcoming series is a big one for both teams. The Braves are trying to run down the Mets in the NL East, while the Phillies are 1.5 games back of the Padres for the second wild card and are 2.5 games ahead of Milwaukee for the final spot. Max Fried will get the start in the opener for Atlanta while lefty Ranger Suarez will be on the mound for Philadelphia.
Travis d’Arnaud returns to the lineup Thursday and will hit clean up against the lefty Suarez. D’Arnaud has been swinging a hot bat in September hitting .333/.404/.667 with four home runs and a 195 wRC+ over his last 13 games. With d’Arnaud behind the plate, William Contreras will slot in again as the DH and hit sixth. Ronald Acuña Jr’s return to the outfield has allowed the Braves to keep Contreras’ bat in the lineup. He is hitting .306/.341/.500 with two homers and a 127 wRC+ over his last 11 games.
With two weeks left in the season, Atlanta needs Austin Riley and Matt Olson to get back on track. Riley has five homers in September, but is hitting just .191/.273/.426. Olson collected three hits in the series against the Nationals, but is just 7-for-65 with one home run and 23 strikeouts in his last 18 games.
Philadelphia snapped a five-game skid Wednesday with a win over the Blue Jays. J.T. Realmuto is back behind the plate for the series opener and has played well down the stretch hitting .321/.397/.714 with seven home runs over his last 16 games. If the Phillies are going to make some noise in the postseason, then they are going to need Bryce Harper to get going. Harper, who missed two months with a thumb injury, is hitting just .161/.261/.311 with two home runs and a 63 wRC+ in September.
Thursday’s series opener has a scheduled start time of 7:15 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on FOX.