How First Place will be determined??
Here it is May 21st, 2018 and by the end of Wednesday night, the Phillies could be in first place. There are a few important days in the baseball season if you are fan. First, is opening day, one of the best days of the year, should be a national holiday. The next set of benchmarks are as follows.
–Memorial Day: This is about the quarter mark of the season, and a roughly 40 game sample, should be enough to see if your team is close or not.
–July 4th: Close to the midway mark, and the All Star Game, also the deadline is at the end of the month, at this point you can see where your team is, and what pieces are missing. Usually, this is where fans, start the chatter of the best available positions, per said position, and how to go make the deal happen.
–Labor Day: That final month and that final push, where games matter, the call ups come in and if your in spot for the playoffs, you watch each game closely. If your not, you see what future pieces you have during the call up period.
–Well here, we are almost at Memorial Day and a series starts to determine who will have the top place in the NL East standings. Currently, it looks like this.
–Currently the Braves, hold a 1.5 game lead, meaning, the only way to gain control of the division, would require a 3 game sweep. Not impossible, considering are 16-6 at home, and as I documented earlier, seem to have a distinct home field advantage at CBP.
A Series Preview..
So far this year, the teams have met 9 times. 2 Series in Atlanta, and a single series in Philadelphia. Currently the Braves hold the better of the teams winning 6 of the first 9 games. The pitching match up for the series will be as follows:
Game 1: Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) 3-2, 2.87 ERA vs. Nick Pivetta (PHL) 3-2, 3.72 ERA
Game 2: Brandon McCarthy (ATL) 4-2, 5.05 ERA vs. Vince Valasquez (PHL) 4-4, 4.37 ERA
Game 3: Luiz Gohara (ATL) 0-0, 1.29 ERA vs Jake Arrieta (PHL) 3-2, 2.82 ERA
The Phillies have only been able to get a combined 4 earned runs in 17 innings combined off of Foltynewicz, in 3 games against him. He also has 21 strikeouts against them. He has been their most consistent pitcher this year.
The team does not fare much better off McCarthy either. A combined 16 innings, 4 earned runs, and 17 strikeouts. The Phillies have really struggled against the Braves starting pitching this year. In 9 games they have been outscored 54-30, and have not pitched well either.
I as a Phillies fan, have always hated the Braves, the 93 NLCS, was still my favorite baseball moment in my life. I literally can not stand the Braves, or any of their current former players. From Smoltz, Maddox, Gant, Nixon, Blauser, Lemke, Lopez, Klesko, Wholers, Pendelton, Olson, Rocker, Mercker, Borbon, Freeman, Markakis, and that stupid Bobby Cox. You name them, I hate them.
The problem with the Braves this year, is that they are really good. They are young and they have building blocks. Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, and Ronald Acuna, who is ultimately the games next up and coming player, to their vets like Freddie Freeman, and Nick Markakis, they have a complete roster from top to bottom. The part that is even worse is that they are young, even Freeman, who seems to have been in the league for like 15 years, is only 28.
This is a statement series. It will tell us a good amount about are young talent. It will answer the question of do we have anything for the Braves, and their promising young nucleus. How far away are we really, from competing with this team for the future? Yes, I know its only May, but none of those players are going anywhere and we play this team 19 times a year for the foreseeable future. It is a series, in which we will need to showcase, that we are close, and that are talent is not behind the 8-ball, at this time.
I am hoping for a competitive series. I am also hoping we kind salvage a series win, so that at least we are no worse than a half game out. A series sweep would be a crucial blow, and a 4.5 game whole, although only May, would be a tough hill to climb, especially with the Nationals also trending up. It should be fun! A battle for first place, begins tonight!