Saturday, September 23, 2023
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MLB Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (82-68) at Atlanta Braves (96-54)


150 DOWN, 12 TO GO: Through 150 games, the Phillies are 82-68 with a +78 run differential (737-659) … Last year, on their way to the National League pennant, the Phillies were 83-67 through the first 150 games with a +71 run differential (704-633) … The Phillies have hit 203 home runs to date which are the 2nd-most through the first 150 games of a season in franchise history behind only the 2009 club who hit 211 … Philadelphia’s 203 home runs this year rank 8th in franchise history – last year’s club ranks 7th with 205 home runs – the record is 224, held by the 2009 club.

THE HUNT RED OCTOBER: Since June 3, the Phillies are 57-36 with a .613 winning percentage that ranks 4th among all clubs in MLB behind ATL (.677), LAD (.626) and BAL (.624) … Since June 3, the Phillies starting rotation has a 3.75 ERA (228 ER, 547.2 IP) that ranks 3rd in MLB behind SD (3.71) and TOR (3.73) and the bullpen has posted a 3.29 ERA (107 ER, 292.1 IP) that ranks 4th in MLB behind LAD (2.90), MIL (3.21) and TB (3.28) …Since June 3, the Phillies offense has a combined .795 OPS that ranks 4th in MLB behind ATL (.876), HOU (.803) and LAD (.802) while averaging 5.38 runs per game, also 4th.

BALL GO BOOM: Since August 1, the Phillies have hit 90 home runs in only 44 games which is tops among all clubs in MLB – ATL ranks 2nd (89) and MIN ranks 3rd (74), 16 behind the Phillies … Philadelphia ranks 2nd to ATL with 180 extra-base hits (ATL 185), a .511 SLG (ATL .514) and an .858 OPS (ATL .865) since Aug. 1 … The Phillies are averaging 5.98 runs per game since August which ranks 3rd in MLB behind only ATL (6.13) and HOU (6.11) … Per Statcast, since Aug. 1, the Phillies rank 1st among all clubs in baseball with an average exit velocity of 90.3 MPH (next: ATL, 90.2 MPH) and T-1st in hard hit rate at 43.9% (with ATL).

LEADING MAN: Leadoff hitter Kyle Schwarber (Phils’ nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award) has a career-high 120 walks this season which ranks T-7th in Phillies franchise history for a single year (with Mike Schmidt in 1979) – Von Hayes ranks 6th all-time with 121 in 1987… The franchise record for walks in a season is 129, set by Lenny Dykstra in 1993 … Schwarber currently ranks 2nd in MLB this year in both walks and walk rate (17.8%), trailing only Juan Soto in both (123, 18.6%) … Since he was moved back to the leadoff spot on June 2, the Phillies are 42-14 in the 56 games Schwarber has scored a run (.750) and they are 24-5 in the 29 games he has homered (.828) … Last Wednesday in San Diego, Schwarber set a franchise record with his 10th leadoff home run this season, eclipsing Jimmy Rollins’ previous record of 9 in 2007 … Since the All-Star break, Schwarber has posted a .955 OPS in 60 games (282 PA) with 50 runs, 23 home runs, 50 RBI and 62 walks with a 22.0% BB rate.

120 WALKS, 100 RUNS, 100 RBI, 45 HOMERS: Kyle Schwarber has 120 walks, 102 runs, 45 homers and 99 RBI this season … He is only 1 RBI shy of joining a list of 12 other players in MLB since 1920 – when RBI became official – to join the 120 walk/100 run/100 RBI/45 home run club … Babe Ruth did so eight times, Barry Bonds four times, Mark McGwire two times, and Lou Gehrig, Chipper Jones, Aaron Judge, Harmon Killebrew, Ralph Kiner, Mickey Mantle, Willie McCovey, Mike Schmidt & Jim Thome all did so once.

SCHWARBER, McGWIRE, RUTH: In his first two seasons in Philadelphia (since 2022), Kyle Schwarber has hit 91 home runs which ranks 2nd in MLB behind only Aaron Judge and he has walked 206 times which also ranks 2nd in MLB behind only Juan Soto (258 BB) … Per Elias, Schwarber is only the 3rd player in MLB history with 90+ home runs and 200+ walks through any player’s first two seasons with a club: Mark McGwire with St. Louis from 1997-98 (94 HR, 205 BB) and Babe Ruth with the Yankees from 1920-21 (113 HR, 294 BB).

ARMS RACE: The Phillies starting staff ranks 1st in the National League and 4th in MLB with 835.1 innings pitched this season – they have 16.2 fWAR as a staff which is 1st among all MLB rotations (next: MIN, 15.2) and is 3.9 wins in front of the next closest NL club (SD, 12.3) … Consequently, Philadelphia’s bullpen has thrown the fewest innings of any relief corps this year with 499.0 (HOU ranks 29th at 504.2 and SF ranks 1st at 654.1), yet Philadelphia’s relief pitchers have combined for 5.8 fWAR which ranks 4th in MLB behind LAD (7.0), BAL (7.0) and CIN (6.0) … Combined, Phillies pitching has put up 22.0 fWAR this season which leads MLB (next: SEA, 20.3) and is 6.0 wins in front of ATL who ranks 2nd in the NL at 16.0.

TURNED HIM LOOSE: Over his last 39 games (since 8/4) Trea Turner is slashing .366/.405/.745 (1.150 OPS) with 36 runs, 11 doubles, a triple, 16 home runs, 41 RBI, 9 walks and 6 stolen bases in 173 plate appearances … Turner has raised his season AVG from .235 on August 3rd to .270 entering play tonight and his season OPS from .657 on Aug. 3 to .788 … With 96 runs, 32 doubles, 26 home runs and 27 stolen bases this year, Turner is only 4 runs, 4 home runs and 3 steals away from becoming only the third player in Phillies franchise history with a 100 run, 30 double, 30 homer, 30 stolen base season: Bobby Abreu (2x, 2001 & 2004) and Jimmy Rollins (2007).

CHANGED MAN: Tonight’s starter Cristopher Sanchez has limited opponents to a .161 AVG and .286 SLG against his changeup and batters have swung and missed at the pitch 40.2% of the time … In his last start on Sept. 13 against ATL, Sanchez generated a career-high 21 swings and misses (previous: 15, 6/30 vs WSH) and 18 of those swings and misses came against his changeup … Sanchez’s 18 whiffs on the changeup were the most by a Phillies pitcher in a single game since at least 2008 (previous: Hamels with 16 on 5/8/09 and Hellickson with 16 on 5/13/16).

ROAD WORK: The Phillies are in the middle of a seven-day, six-game road trip through St. Louis (2-1) and Atlanta (1-0) where they have won three of the first four … They are 39-37 (.513) on the road this season, however, since June 3, they have gone 28-15 on the road with an MLB-best .651 winning percentage … On the mound, the Phillies have also posted an MLB-best 3.36 ERA on the road since June 3rd which includes a 3.61 ERA from the starters and a 2.88 mark from the bullpen.

2023: 2-4, 3.40 ERA Career: 5-6, 4.18 ERA

LAST START: 9/13 vs ATL: L, 7.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, BB, 10 SO … Sánchez vs Strider… The Phillies fell to the Atlanta Braves, 4-1, at Citizens Bank Park … Offensively, the Phillies worked Spencer Strider for 36 pitches in the 1st inning but only scored 1 run, their lone run of the night


  • Career Highs: In his last start, Sánchez struck out a career-high 10 batters while throwing a career-high 7.1 IP … He also collected a career-high 21 swings and misses (previous best: 15, 6/30/23) and that is tied for the 4th most swings and misses by any Phillies pitcher this year. Change It Up: Per Statcast, Sánchez has struck out 45 batters with his changeup this season and has recorded a 40.2% whiff % with it, up from a 29.8% whiff % in 2022 … In his last start, 8 of his career-high 10 strikeouts came from the changeup and all 8 of them were swinging … 18 of his career-high 21 swings and misses came against his changeup and it is the most swings and misses any ML pitcher has generated on a changeup since Luis Castillo recorded 18 on 8/5/19 and the most ever by a Phillies pitcher in the Statcast Era … He has gathered 88 swings and misses on his changeup this year, which is T-11th most in the NL … He also threw his changeup 47 times in his last outing, which is 10 times more than any other outing in his career. A Few More Changes: His downward movement of 42.7 inches (with gravity) on his changeup is the 6th best in baseball and it has 9.3 more inches of drop than the ML average … His average exit velocity against it (80.4 mph) is the 3rd best in MLB and his OPP AVG of .172 against it is T7th (min. 250 changeups thrown). Work Horse: Sánchez’s last appearance marked his 16th of this season, which set a new career high … In 13 of his 16 starts this year, he has gone at least 5.0 IP … On 8/11, Sánchez set a new career high for pitches in a game with 107, surpassing his previous high of 92 set on 7/24 … It is tied for the 8th most pitches in a game by a Phillie this year … He has thrown 1295 pitches this season, eclipsing his total of 662 in 2022. Walk the Line: Sánchez ranks in the 98th percentile in walk % and his 1.44 BB/9.0 IP is the 3rd in the NL (min. 75.0 IP) … Sánchez has only issued 14 walks in his first 16 starts this season … There has been 6 other Phillies to do so since 1901 and only 2 since 1976 … Aaron Nola (2022) and Zach Eflin (2021) … Sánchez has only walked 2 batters in his last 5 starts (29.0 IP). Watch Me WHIP: Since being recalled on 6/17, Sánchez’s 1.02 WHIP is the tied for 5th in the major leagues and 2nd in the NL (min. 75.0 IP). Left In Charge: Sánchez has held left-handers to a .145 AVG (8-62) this season, which ranks T-5th in the NL (min. 50 batters faced) … Against his last 43 lefties faced (since 7/14), he has held them to a .070 AVG (3-43) … Among LHP with at least 10 starts this year, Sánchez’s 3.40 ERA ranks 7th in the NL. Keep it Grounded: Sánchez ranks in the 93rd percentile in ground ball % with 56.3% … Sánchez also has the 8th lowest fly ball % with 27.1% (min. 70.0 IP). Reach for the Stars: Per Statcast, Sánchez’s average release extension (where the ball is released relative to the rubber) of 6.9 feet puts him in the 88th percentile among all ML pitchers … As a result, his sinker velocity, which averages at 92.1 mph, has a perceived velocity of 93.1 mph. vs NL East: 1-4, 4.26 ERA (27 ER, 57.0 IP) in 16 games (8 starts). Pitch Usage: Sinker (46.8%), Changeup (31.6%), Slider (21.6%)


  • 2023: 0-0, 1.29 ERA (3 ER, 21.0 IP) in 4 starts
  • Career: 1-1, 1 SV, 4.15 ERA (20 ER, 43.1 IP) in 13 games (4 start)

2023 Season:

  • Carried a no-hitter through five innings before being pulled from the game on 7/30 … It was the longest no-hit bid in his career. Was recalled from Lehigh Valley (AAA) prior to his start on 6/17 at OAK … Sánchez is in his 2nd stint with the Phillies this season … He was reinstated rom the 15-day IL (left triceps strain) prior to his start on 4/22 and was optioned postgame


Four Straight
Atlanta has lost each of its last four games, getting swept in three games in Miami and losing the opener here last night versus Philadelphia. It matches the Braves’ longest losing streak of the season. Atlanta also lost four straight from April 19 to April 23, again from May 10 to May 14, and last from July 15 to July 19. The club has not lost five straight games in over five years, last doing so with six straight losses from September 25-30, 2017. Atlanta’s run of consecutive division titles began the next season. The Braves are the only team in baseball without a five-game losing streak since the start of 2018.

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Phillies tonight continue a three-game series with what is the 12th of 13 scheduled meetings between the clubs this season…Atlanta and Philadelphia last met last week, with the Braves taking three-of-four at Citizens Bank Park. The Braves fell to the Phillies, 7-1, last night, but Atlanta has won 7-of-11 games with Philadelphia this year. Atlanta went 11-8 against Philadelphia last season to win the season set, and has won the season series with the Phillies in each of the last two years…The Braves went 10-9 against the Phillies in 2021, and have now won the season set with Philadelphia in consecutive years for the first time since a five-year run, 2012-2016. The Braves and Phillies met in the 2022 postseason, with Philadelphia winning the NLDS, three-games-to-one, to eliminate the defending World Series champions…Philadelphia outscored Atlanta, 24-13, in the series. Atlanta is 2-3 with Philadelphia here at Truist Park this season, and the Braves are 34-20 (.630) against the Phillies here since the facility opened in 2017… Atlanta has a losing record here at home against Philadelphia just once since 2017, going 4-5 in the stadium’s inaugural season…In the six seasons since, the Braves are 30-15 (.667). LH Cristopher Sánchez has made two career
appearances versus Atlanta, including his first such start just last week…The 6-foot-1, 165-pound native of the Dominican Republic set career highs in innings (7.1) and strikeouts (10) on September 13 against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park, but took the loss after allowing eight hits and four runs…In 16 total starts for the Phillies this season, Sánchez is 2-4 with a 3.40 ERA (33 ER/87.1 IP) and 83 strikeouts.

LOSS: The Braves lost to the Phillies, 7-1, last night, and have dropped a season high-tying four straight games…Atlanta has been outscored, 43-14 (-29) during the skid. Atlanta has gone 858 games since its last losing streak of at least five games, which ended on September 30, 2017…Per Elias, that is the third-longest streak of its kind in MLB history, behind two runs by the Yankees… New York went 1,243 games between five-game skids from from 1930-38, and 877 games between such streaks again from 1946-52. Braves pitchers combined to allow five home runs last night, the most Atlanta has allowed in a single game since June 30, 2022 at Philadelphia (also five)…Since moving to Truist Park at the start of the 2017 season, the Braves have allowed five home runs here at home on just one other occasion – August 12, 2021 vs. Cincinnati. Atlanta scored just one run last night, a first-inning solo homer, and fell to 9-27 (.250) when scoring less than three runs this season.

STRIDER VS. THE PHILLIES: RH Spencer Strider tonight makes his eighth career appearance and seventh start against the Phillies, and enters with a perfect 7-0 record and a 1.56 ERA (7 ER/40.1 IP) over his first seven such games. Just two pitchers in history have opened their careers with more wins in consecutive games against the Phillies, with Jonny Morrison (1921-1922) and Kaiser Wilhelm (1903-1904) both winning each of their first eight…No other pitchers have also won their first seven such starts. Strider has allowed just 21 hits and 31 total baserunners in his 40.1 innings, pitching to a 0.77 WHIP…Phillies batters are hitting .148/.204/.232 with a .436 OPS against him. He has struck out 61 Phillies in his 40.1 innings, including at least nine in each of his last five such starts. Strider faced the Phillies in his last start, September 13 at Citizens Bank Park, and pitched 7.0 one-run innings with nine strikeouts in Atlanta’s win, 4-1… The victory secured the N.L. East division title for the Braves. Strider has started against the same opponent in back-to-back turns three times before in his career, and has combined to allow just three earned runs over 18.2 innings (1.45 ERA) with 26 strikeouts in his second of these such starts…He faced the Giants in consecutive starts earlier this season, August 18 and August 25, and pitched 7.0 scoreless in the first start and 7.0 one-run frames in the second.

CAREER-HIGH OZZIE: Ozzie Albies was responsible for Atlanta’s only run of the game last night, sending a homer out to right in the first inning…The drive was Albies’ 31st of the season, a new career best. • His previous best was a 30-homer campaign in 2021. • Albies has 98 RBI on the season, and needs just two more for the second 30 homer/100 RBI season of his career…Just six second baseman (90% of their games) in history have multiple such seasons, and just 15 have such a season at all. • Hall-of-Famer Rogers Hornsby and Jeff Kent had three 30 homer/100 RBI seasons playing second in their careers, while Bret Boone, Joe Gordon, Alfonso Soriano and Chase Utley all had two.

HOME FIELD: Despite last night’s loss, Atlanta yesterday clinched a bye in the Wild Card Series and home-field advantage in the NLDS by virtue of Milwaukee’s loss at St. Louis…The Braves will host Game 1 and Game 2 of the NLDS here at Truist Park on October 7 and October 9. Since the 2018 season, home teams are 110-90
(.550) in the postseason, including a 15-7 (.682) record in such games by the Braves at Truist Park. Atlanta’s .682 postseason winning percentage at home since 2018 is third highest in baseball, behind just the Phillies (6-2, .750) and Rays (11-5, .688).

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #99 Spencer Strider RHP
2023 Record: 17-5, 3.73 ERA • 2022 Record: 11-5, 2.67 ERA
vs. RHB: .210 (65-310), 12 HR • vs. LHB: .203 (64-for-316), 8 HR
Home: 6-3, 4.33 ERA (39/81.0) • Away: 11-2, 3.17 ERA (31/88.0)

Tonight’s Game

  • Set to make his fourth start against Philadelphia this season and 30th on the year.
  • Struck out nine over 7.0 innings of one-run ball in his last start against Philadelphia, earning the win and clinching the division for Atlanta.
  • Strider leads baseball with 17 wins this season.
  • The Braves have won 23 of Strider’s games this season, tied for the most by any team with an individual pitcher as a starter.
  • Leads the majors with 259 strikeouts (Kevin Gausman ranks second with 222).
  • Among qualified starters, ranks first in K/9 rate (13.79), and FIP (2.69) while ranking fourth in WHIP (1.08) in the National League.
  • Strider’s 422 strikeouts as a starter are the most in in baseball history through a player’s first 50 starts.
  • Dwight Gooden ranks second with 418
  • His 16 games with at least 10 strikeouts are the second most in MLB history (1901) through a player’s first 45 starts; trails only Dwight Gooden (20).
  • Strider has 10 double-digit strikeout efforts this season; only Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz (12) has more in a single season in franchise history.
  • His swing and miss rate of 40.0% is the highest in the majors (among QS).

2023 Recap

  • On August 18 Strider recorded his fourth career game with at least 10 strikeouts while holding the opponents to one hit or less; the most such games by a pitcher before turning 25 since the mound was set at its current distance (credit ESPN Stats).
  • Strider truck out Shohei Ohtani (LAA) for his 200th strikeout of the season.
  • Broke his own record – becoming the fastest pitcher, by innings pitched (123.1) to reach the 200 strikeout plateau within a single season since the mound
    moved to its current distance in 1893.
  • Last year, he recorded 200 strikeouts in 130.0 innings…Prior to last season, Hall-of-Famer LHP Randy Johnson held the record, reaching 200 strikeouts in 130.2 innings in 2001.
  • Strider is the fifth pitcher since 1893 to collect at least 200 strikeouts in his first two full major league seasons, joining: Cleveland’s Herb Score (1955-56), New York’s (NL) Dwight Gooden (1984-85), Los Angeles’ (NL) Hideo Nomo (1995-96) and Texas’ Yu Darvish (2012-13).
  • He’s the fourth Braves pitcher, over the same span, with multiple 200-strikeout seasons, alongside teammate Charlie Morton (2021-22) and Hall-of-Famers John smoltz, (5 times, 1992-93, ’96-97, ‘06) and Phil Niekro, (three times, 1977-79).
  • Strider’s 354 strikeouts through his first 40 career starts are the most by any pitcher since the mound was set to it’s current distance in 1893, credit ESPN Stats.
  • Became the first Braves pitcher to enter the All-Star break leading the National League in Strikeouts with 166 since Hall-of-Famer John Smoltz in 1996.
  • Strider passed Smoltz (149) for the most strikeouts before the All-Star break.
  • Strider joined Cy Young Award-winner Dwight Gooden as the only pitchers in the modern era to reach 300 strikeouts in their first 35 career starts.
  • Through the 35 starts, Gooden recorded 302 strikeouts in 248.0 innings pitched while Strider logged 301 punchouts in 192.0 frames.
  • Struck out Nick Castellanos in the fourth inning on May 28 to become the fastest starting pitcher, by innings pitched (61.0), to reach 100 strikeouts in a season, since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893…Strider bested his own franchise record, set last season in 64.2 innings. (Research courtesy of Elias)
  • Struck out J.T. Realmuto to reach 300 on his career.
  • Strider became the 13th player in major league history to record at least 300 strikeouts in 44 career appearances or less and first since Shane Bieber in 2018.
  • Of the other 12 pitchers, Strider is the only one to have more than two relief appearances in his first 44 outings.
  • Snapped a streak of 12 consecutive games with at least eight strikeouts on May 17.
  • Tied Hall-of-Famers Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson for the seventh longest such streak in the live ball era (since 1920).
  • Only Hall-of-Famers Ryan, Johnson, Pedro Martínez and active pitchers Corey Kluber and Shane Bieber have longer streaks.
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