Arrieta takes hill as Phillies try to sweep Braves

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The Philadelphia Phillies will send a former Cy Young Award winner to the mound Sunday to try and complete a season-opening series sweep against the Atlanta Braves.

Right-hander Jake Arrieta (10-11 in 2018) will oppose Braves rookie Kyle Wright (0-0, 4.50 in 2018) in the finale of a three-game series in Philadelphia. It will be the first start of Wright's career.

The Phillies beat the Braves 8-6 on Saturday, thanks to home runs by high-priced offseason acquisitions J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper and another homer from Maikel Franco, who went deep for the second straight game.

Arrieta, who broke into the majors in 2010, is two wins shy of reaching 100 for his career. He won the Cy Young with the Chicago Cubs in 2015. He had minor meniscus surgery on his left knee a few weeks prior to spring training, cleaning up an issue that caused him to struggle in the second half of last season.

Arrieta struck out eight Tampa Bay batters over six innings in his final start of the spring. He worked 14 innings in four spring starts, striking out 16 and walking four with a 5.79 ERA.

Arrieta is 4-2 with a 3.05 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta. He started two games against the Braves in 2018, going 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA. He threw 6.2 shutout innings against Atlanta on May 23, striking out seven, but lasted only two innings against the Braves on Sept. 22 when he gave up four runs.

"Of course I think we're a playoff team," Arrieta said at the conclusion of spring training. "With the guys we've got, there's not really a break in our lineup. It's going to be a fun one."

Wright was the fifth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. The Vanderbilt product made his big-league debut last season on Sept. 4, making him the first player from that draft class to reach the majors. Wright made four relief appearances and posted a 4.50 ERA in six innings, striking out five and walking six.

Wright had a good spring. In six appearances he pitched 16.2 innings, struck out 20 and walked four. He had one poor outing that inflated his ERA to 7.02. The rookie thought he was being sent to Triple-A when he was called into manager Brian Snitker's office.

"I thought I was going to be sent down," Wright said. "Snit told me, 'We love the way you pitch. We love the way you compete. So we're going to start you Game 3 in Philly.' I was kind of shocked at first, but whenever I gathered what he said, I was beyond excited."

Wright and Bryse Wilson, who started on Saturday, are the franchise's first two rookies to start within the first three games of the season since 1905.

Snitker said Saturday that injured starters Mike Foltynewicz (elbow) and Kevin Gausman (shoulder tendinitis) and left-handed reliever A.J. Minter (left shoulder) may be back sooner than expected. Foltynewicz, an All-Star last season, is scheduled to throw 80 pitches for the Triple-A Gwinnett affiliate on Thursday. Gausman is expected to be activated for the Miami series next weekend, with Minter also a possibility.

--Field Level Media