After taking the opening game of the series in decisive fashion, the Braves now get two whole chances to come away with a rare series win. Their first attempt will throw Williams Perez against Adam Morgan of the Phillies.
As you may recall, Perez ended up with an absolute gem last week, even though he was starting on short notice in place of Jhoulys Chacin, who had been traded earlier that day. In that start, Perez allowed just two hits (one run) in eight innings, uncharacteristically walking no one and striking out four. That same sort of success eluded him in his most recent start in Pittsburgh, however, as he was hammered for six runs in six innings of work. Overall, Perez appears to be living up to his replacement level-esque expectations, as he continues to put up an ERA, FIP, and xFIP all in the mid to high 4.00s.
For what it's worth, Perez has now had three good starts in a row against the Phillies. He was hammered by them for nine runs in just over four innings in his first outing against them, but has kept them to two or fewer runs in three starts since.
Important note: Perez turns 25 today. Happy birthday, Williams! May the BABIP be with you, and not against you.
Adam Morgan, the Phillies' southpaw from Marietta, has made four starts so far this season, and it may come as no surprise that his lone good outing came against the Braves. In that start, he held Atlanta to four hits and one run in seven frames, which was stellar considering that his next-best start was his 2016 debut, where he allowed three runs in five innings. Last time out, however, he was not so fortunate against the Reds, allowing seven runs and not making it out of the fourth. Overall, it should be a fairly even matchup, either because both pitchers will replicate their success from last week, or because they won't and pitch like they have so far.
Morgan has repeatedly started against the Braves, including last season. He's had 19 major league starts so far, and four have come against the Braves. In the first three, taking place in 2015, he's generally done well, pitching 18 innings and allowing eight runs, yet he got saddled with the loss in each of those starts (kind of remarkable considering the second half Braves offense and pitching).
The Braves have hit nine, count 'em, nine (9) homers in their last five games, a world of difference when you realize that they hit only seven in the 35 games before that. Or, another way to look at it is that in the last five games, they've hit as many homers as the rest of the season before that. This will also be the first game in a while where the Braves come into play without the league's worst record.
The Phillies have now dropped six of their last eight to the Braves.
Game Date/Time: Saturday, May 21, 3:05 p.m. ET
Location: Citizens Bank Park
TV: Fox Sports South
Radio: WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network, 680 AM/93.7 FM