Phillies search for split with Braves

Field Level Media

Phillies search for split with Braves

The visiting Atlanta Braves will look to clinch a series win when they battle the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.

The National League East-leading Braves have won two of three in the four-game series, taking Wednesday's game 3-1 as Tyler Flowers ripped a three-run home run.

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Atlanta (91-56) owns 19 wins in its past 23 games. Ahead of the second-place Washington Nationals by 9 1/2 games, the Braves are three games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top mark in the NL.

"I think, as a team, we would like to get the best record in the National League to set you up for home-field advantage," Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson said.

The red-hot Braves continue to win as the regular season winds down. They're clearly not looking ahead to the playoffs, not with 15 games remaining.

"This is what you sign up for," Atlanta catcher Brian McCann said. "This is what you love. You get into September baseball and you're close to the finish line. We've done a great job from day one."

The Braves will hand the ball Thursday to right-hander Julio Teheran (10-8, 3.31 ERA). On Saturday in a 5-4 win over the Nationals, Teheran tossed six innings and gave up three hits and one run. He struck out eight and walked one.

"We all know that we have a great team and obviously I wanted to do my job," Teheran said after the victory. "To look back now over 30 starts and see consistency I've been having, I'm proud of myself for the work I've been doing."

Teheran lost his lone start against the Phillies this season, giving up three runs in five innings on Opening Day, March 28. In his career, Teheran is 9-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts) vs. Philadelphia.

The Phillies, despite the Wednesday loss, are still only two games out of a playoff position. However, both the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are now tied for the second NL wild card, and Philadelphia is tied with the New York Mets in pursuit.

Philadelphia (75-70) will send Drew Smyly to the mound to try and salvage a series split. The left-hander is 4-6 with a 6.20 ERA, but he is coming off one of his best performances with the Phillies.

Smyly pitched seven shutout innings Saturday in a 5-0 road win over the Mets. He allowed four hits, struck out six and walked two.

"I think it's worth noting that Smyly pitched with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "I think we all kind of came in with a little bit of a chip on our shoulders with similar emotion happening in the dugout and throughout the clubhouse."

Even though the defense wasn't particularly sharp Saturday, Smyly pitched out of trouble. That hasn't always been the case for Phillies starters this season.

"I think Smyly should be applauded for bailing us out when we didn't make a couple plays behind him," Kapler said.

This will be Smyly's first appearance against the Braves this season. It will be his second career outing against the Braves, the other being a 2013 relief outing in which he struck out both batters he faced.

Both teams might be without an outfielder Thursday.

Phillies left fielder Corey Dickerson left the Wednesday game after fouling a ball off his left foot. X-rays were negative, but he was to undergo further tests Thursday.

Braves left fielder Johan Camargo, who exited Wednesday after fouling a ball off his right shin, is listed as day-to-day.

--Field Level Media

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