The Braves are the hottest team in baseball, winning seven straight against the Marlins and Pirates to claim first-place in the National League East. The pitching staff has produced a wide variety of results over that span, with the starting staff struggling at times while the bullpen has blown some late leads, but the Atlanta offense has suddenly caught fire. Tonight they will square off against Nick Pivetta of the Phillies, who struggled to the point of being demoted earlier in the season, but has rebounded to produce consecutive excellent starts. The Braves will counter with Max Fried.
Pivetta’s first start of the season came against the Braves in Philadelphia, and saw him work 4 2⁄3 innings while allowing four runs on eight hits. That start and several more like it led to Pivetta’s aforementioned demotion. The issues that plagued Pivetta earlier in the season may resurface, but with improved command since his return the right-hander has the ability to limit contact and damage. He has allowed just one run over his past 15 innings, striking out 15 without a walk.
On the mound for the Braves will be Max Fried, who has seen his ERA jump by nearly a full run over his last three starts against the Nationals, Pirates, and Marlins. Fried began the season on a torrid pace, but now owns a 7-3 record with a 3.75 ERA, striking out 66 in 72 innings. The left-hander made two appearances against the Phillies in the opening series of the season, but both were in relief. He will look to limit a Phillies lineup that ranks in the middle of the pack in runs scored despite being below average in home runs and batting average.
It is strange that the Braves and Phillies have played one another in just one series this season, but it sets up a potentially wild division race for the remainder of the season. This weekend could be a turning point for either club, as the Braves lead by just 1 1⁄2 games entering play Friday. With each playing a schedule that heavily features the other, there will be plenty of opportunity for both clubs to move quickly in the standings.
In less important but still relevant news, Bryce Harper will return to Atlanta tonight for the first time as a member of the Phillies. Harper will likely enter to a chorus of boos from what promises to be a packed house at SunTrust Park. Whether you are watching from home or booing loudly from SunTrust Park, join us here for in-game conversation as the Braves look for their eighth consecutive win.
Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Friday, June 14, 2019
7:20 pm EDT
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, MLB Network, MLB.tv
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, Rock 100.5, Braves Radio Network
XM Radio: XM 183 (Streaming 841)