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Series Preview: Phillies vs Braves, Best-of-five Division Series

The day after the Phillies signed their interim manager to a two-year contract extension, the team will open the best-of-five playoff series in National League East Division winning Atlanta.

On Monday the Phils made a clear vote of confidence when they gave skipper Rob Thomson the job for years to come.  On Tuesday, the team sends 27-year-old Ranger Suarez to the mound to battle Braves ace Max Fried to open the National League Division Series.  The Phils earned their way to the series by notching a pair of victories over the Cardinals in the Wild Card round this past weekend.

Details on pitching match ups and other key notes from this series are ahead...

Tuesday, 1:07pm Eastern...LHP Ranger Suarez (10-7 record, 3.65 ERA) vs. LHP Max Fried (14-7 record, 2.48 ERA).  Suarez has a 2.81 ERA in six daytime outings this season.  In five starts against the Braves this year, the Venezuela native, Suarez, tallied a 1-2 record with a 3.21 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.  Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson is 2-18 (.111 avg.) in his career when facing Suarez.  In 18 home starts this year, Fried recorded an 8-4 record with a 2.42 ERA.  In 11 starts since the All-Star break, Fried has a 2.18 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP.  The Braves were 2-2 in games that Fried started against the Phillies this year.

Wednesday, 4:35pm Eastern...RHP Zack Wheeler (12-7, 2.82 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Wright (21-5, 3.19 ERA).  The 32-year-old Wheeler notched a 3.84 ERA in 13 road starts.  In 24 career starts against Atlanta, Wheeler holds a 10-7 record with a .316 ERA.  Wright has a 13-2 record with a 2.86 ERA in 18 home starts this year.  Wright has a 3.82 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in six career games against the Phillies.  JT Realmuto is 2-for-9 in his career against Wright and both of those hits were home runs.

Friday, time to be determined...RHP Charlie Morton (9-6, 4.34 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (11-13, 3.25 ERA).  Morton, a former Phillie, had a 0-1 record with a 5.47 ERA in five starts against the Phillies this year.  In 15 road starts this season, Morton posted a 3-5 record and a 5.72 ERA.  Nola's 235 strike outs this season were a career-high mark for him.  Nola has a 2.36 ERA over his last six starts.  In 30 career starts against the Braves, Nola sports a 15-10 record with a 3.39 ERA.  

Saturday and Monday, TBD (if necessary)...pitching match ups yet to be announced.  

Phils third baseman Alec Bohm, who finished 9th in the NL in batting with a .280 average, posted a .342 average with four doubles, a homer and seven RBI in 19 games against the Braves this season.  

This year Realmuto became the second MLB catcher, along with Ivan Rodriguez, to hit at least 20 home runs and swipe at least 20 bases in the same season.  In 60 games since the All-Star break, Realmuto posted a slash line of .307/.367/.583.

Bryce Harper batted .244 at home, while he posted a .320 average on the road this season.  The Phils' designated hitter, Harper, has hit more home runs in his career against the Braves (39) than he has against any other team.  With runners in scoring position this year, Harper produced a .354/.448/.734 slash line.

Outfielder Kyle Schwarber's National League best 46 home runs were the most ever hit by a Phillies' outfielder in one season.  In 19 games against Atlanta this year, the lefty slugger recorded an unimpressive .127, but he did mash six of his home runs against the Braves.

In 19 games against the Phillies this season, Atlanta third baseman Austin Riley recorded a .351 average with nine double, a home run and four RBI.  Riley's .964 OPS at home this year is considerably higher than his .792 mark on the road.  

Catcher Travis D'Arnaud is a .258 hitter with 12 homers and 44 RBI in 95 games against the Phillies.  D'arnaud was a supplemental first round draft selection by the Phils 15 years ago.  They later traded him away in a deal that made Roy Halladay a Phillie.

The Braves ranked 2nd in the National League with 789 runs scored during the regular season.  The Phillies ranked 5th in the league with 747 runs scored.

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