Phillies @ Braves Series Preview
Game 1: 4:10 Thursday @ SunTrust Park
Projected Starters: Aaron Nola(Phi) and Julio Teheran(ATL)
Game 2: 7:35 Friday @ SunTrust Park
Projected Starters: Nick Pivetta(Phi) and Mike Foltynewicz(ATL)
Game 3: 7:10 Saturday @ SunTrust Park
Projected Starters: Vince Velasquez(Phi) and Brandon McCarthy(ATL)
Baseball is finally back! The 2018 baseball season has tons of excitement from Braves fans as it is finally here. All the stashing of these young, electric, pitchers and hitters will come to life this season as a bunch of the young guns could make their debuts this season. All eyes will be on Ronald Acu Jr. in about two weeks when the nineteen-year-old makes his debut.
Acuna is about as electrifying as a player can get. When you earn praise from the likes of Chipper and Andruw Jones, you are doing something right. He has the potential to be a part of the 40-40 club one day. Acuna rattled off a .432 batting average with 4 homeruns this spring.
The Braves suffered a setback before the season even started when projected 5th starter, Luiz Gohara, suffered an ankle injury while recovering from his groin injury. He is expected back in a couple weeks, so the Braves seem to be settling for a four-man rotation until then. The Braves really don’t need a 5th starter until April 11 because four starters would be able to operate on a normal rest schedule until then.
Let’s dig into the Braves opening series. The Braves open with a three-game home series against the Philadelphia Phillies, a team which got the best of them last season. The Braves went just 6-13 against the Phillies last season, which was their worst record against any division opponent. With Acuna starting off in the minors, this series still features three young studs on the Phillies with homerun machine Rhys Hoskins and Phillies versatile top prospect Scott Kingery, who batted .411 in the Spring. Aaron Nola, the youngest Phillies opening day starter since Dennis Bennett in 1964, has Phillies fans excited as he showed signs last season and this spring of having “ace” stuff.
Quick Note: Jake Arrietta won’t make his Phillies debut until April 8th.
The Braves this season have what it takes to be a wild card contender. The pitching will have to be better, especially the bullpen, and Dansby will need to have a bounce-back season both hitting and fielding. However, it really all depends on the pitching.
The Braves pitching this season just flat out must be better. The Braves team ERA last season of 4.72 was their highest team ERA since 1977. It all begins with Julio Teheran and if he can fix his struggles at SunTrust, where he posted a 5.86 ERA last season.
The bullpen must improve as well. Aj Minter and Arodys Vizcaino could be a nasty late-inning duo. Jose Ramirez has an electric fastball and will be other late inning guy and if he can fix some control issues, the late-inning trio could be a sneaky good bunch.
The Braves starting pitching this spring was phenomenal outside a couple of bullpen blunders. This first series for the Braves will begin to answer some questions for the Braves as to has Julio shaken off the SunTrust curse and how Snitker will utilize the bullpen. I for one believe Arodys Vizcaino is set for a huge 2018 season as the closer if he can stay healthy.
For the Braves, Julio Teheran is making his 5th straight opening, just the fourth Braves player ever to make five or more straight opening day starts. Folty is getting the ball in game two, and is a guy who can turn into an “ace” if he can learn to trust his off-speed and not try and blow everyone away with his fastball. Brandon McCarthy, acquired in the Matt Kemp trade, is taking the bump in game three.
It will be interesting to see if the Braves veteran starters can outduel the young guns the Phillies will be trotting out to the mound in this series.
Alright everyone, it’s time(almost) to play ball!