Phillies tangle with Braves in battle of winning streaks

MLB

Following Wednesday’s win over the Washington Nationals, Joe Girardi answered several questions about possible upcoming postponements.

And a postponement is exactly what came less than 24 hours later.

The Philadelphia Phillies manager said he would support any decision to stand up against racial and social injustice. A few hours before Thursday’s game, the Phillies decided not to play the finale against the Nationals in protest of 29-year-old Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wis.

“I would tell them to go with their heart,” Girardi said Wednesday after recording his 1,000th career managerial win. “Feelings are feelings. They’re never right or wrong, they’re just feelings. And you’ve got to go with what your heart tells you.”

After the unexpected day off, the Phillies will begin a three-game series against the visiting Atlanta Braves on Friday. It’s the final regular-season series between the teams.

The Phillies will be looking for their fourth straight win as they hand the ball to right-hander Zack Wheeler, who has a 3-0 record and a 2.76 ERA in five starts.

The Braves will be searching for their third straight win and fifth in six games. On Wednesday, the Braves completed an impressive sweep of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees, 2-1 and 5-1.

“It was really, really big,” Freddie Freeman said of the sweep. “Especially in a 60-game season. When you have two games in one day, it can definitely go the opposite direction. When you have starts like we did today, that set the tone early. Ian (Anderson) was absolutely phenomenal, and Max (Fried) followed it up with another brilliant performance.”

The Braves will send Robbie Erlin to the mound to open the series against the Phillies. Erlin is 0-0 with a 5.14 ERA in five games this season, two of which are starts.

Erlin holds a career 1-1 mark with a 3.21 ERA against the Phillies in seven appearances (four starts). The left-hander will be hoping to keep the Braves’ positive momentum going in a season filled with injuries. Still, the Braves are 18-12 halfway through this shortened 60-game season and own a 4-3 season series lead over the Phils.

“It wasn’t easy, believe me,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “It was a very productive first half, but it wasn’t by any stretch easy to get there with everything we’ve been through. These guys keep grinding. We’ve lost chunks of our lineup. We’ve lost big chunks of our starting rotation. They just keep playing.”

Freeman, who took some time to recover from COVID-19 symptoms, has a 10-game hitting streak going. For the season, he is hitting .304 with five home runs, 10 doubles and 21 walks.

“Things are starting to click,” Freeman said.

–Field Level Media

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