Major League Baseball
Braves-Phillies preview
Major League Baseball

Braves-Phillies preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 11:03 a.m. ET

The Atlanta Braves have spent virtually the entire season in the basement of the National League East but at times have managed to put together a few hot streaks.

Atlanta is 30 games under .500 but is on its second hot streak of the season.

The Braves can match a season high with a sixth straight victory Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Ballpark.

The Braves won six straight June 15-21 to get its record to 24-46. From June 22 through Aug. 20, Atlanta dropped 33 of 53 games but starting with a 7-6 10-inning win over Washington on Aug. 21, the Braves are 8-4.


Atlanta began its winning streak with a three-game sweep of San Diego and has continued it with two late-inning wins over the Phillies. The Braves scored four times in the ninth inning Friday, scored the tying run in the eighth inning Saturday and picked up a 6-4 win when Adonis Garcia scored the winning run on a groundout by Tyler Flowers in the 10th.

"When it's not going good, you line out or hit into a double play," Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. "We've had plenty of those stretches where it wasn't going our way. Like I keep saying, if you handle that and deal with it there's usually something good on the other end of it."

Garcia homered twice Saturday and drove in three runs to raise his average to .274. He is 10-for-22 in his last five games.

"The team is clicking and I'm feeding off of that," Garcia said. "I honesty do feel good being in the two spot. I feel like I'm getting better pitches to see and a lot more fastballs due to the fact of the guys hitting behind me."

Garcia is not the only hot hitter for the Braves, who have scored 38 runs and are hitting .328 (57-for-174) during their last five games.

Endier Inciarte is batting .426 (26-for-61) during a 14-game hitting streak, Freddie Freeman is batting .316 (12-for-38) during a 10-game hitting streak and Matt Kemp is 8-for-19 over his last four games.

While the Braves are trending slightly upwards thanks to a productive offense, the Phillies are faltering. The Phillies have lost five straight and 12 of 16 since sweeping a three-game series at home from Colorado Aug. 12-13.

Philadelphia still remains 7 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta fourth but was unable to snap its skid despite four hits from Maikel Franco. While Franco was 4-for-5, the rest of the lineup was 2-for-32 with 13 strikeouts.

During its losing streak, Philadelphia has scored 11 runs and batted .154 average (24-for-156), which prompted a brief meeting with manager Pete Mackanin before Saturday's game.

"I just want them to pay more attention," Mackanin told "It's the little things. Take batting practice the same way you were going to hit in the game, instead of taking it nonchalantly to get loose. I want them to bear down."

Before getting four this Saturday, Franco had one hit in his last 16 at-bats but others have continued struggling.

Leadoff hitter Cesar Hernandez has one hit in his last 17 at-bats as does Aaron Altherr. Cameron Rupp has one hit in his last 19 at-bats and Odubel Herrera is hitless in his last 11 at-bats.

Julio Tehran threw a one-hitter during Atlanta's first six-game winning streak and began this streak by allowing two runs in seven innings in Tuesday's 7-3 win over San Diego. Tehran is 4-9 with a 3.12 ERA as the Braves have scored three runs or less in 15 of his starts but in his last four, Atlanta has scored 27 times.

Tehran is 6-4 with a 2.47 ERA in 13 career starts against the Phillies. He took a loss to them July 30 when he allowed three runs and five hits in five innings of a 9-5 setback July 30 in Atlanta.

Philadelphia received seven solid innings from Vince Velasquez Saturday and then announced he was being shut down for the rest of the season. Another one of the Phillies young starters takes the mound Sunday when Jake Thompson makes his sixth career start.

Thompson is 1-4 with a 7.86 ERA but comes off his best outing to date. During Tuesday's 4-0 loss to Washington, he allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings.


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