Brave, Phillies turn to veteran starters as streak continues

Atlanta’s Charlie Morton and Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler will go head-to-head on Saturday when the They are brave will host the third game of a four-set National League East rival

The teams split the first two races, a They are brave He won 8-5 on Thursday and the Phillies He won 6-4 on Friday

Morton (5-4, 3.61 ERA) and Wheeler (3-4, 4.11) combined for 25 seasons and 536 starts in the major leagues. Both are right-handed.

Morton was the de facto ace They are brave‘ crew with Max Fried and Kyle Wright on the injured list. Morton is coming off his worst game of the year, allowing six runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday. It marked the most runs he allowed in a game this season

Morton is 5-6 with a 4.81 ERA against Philadelphia in 17 career starts. He made five starts against the team last season Phillies and went 0-1 with a 5.47 ERA in 26 1/3 innings

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Wheeler has lost two straight decisions, most recently against Arizona on Monday. He pitched six innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits, one walk and three strikeouts. The problem was two homers, twice as many as he had allowed all season.

“I thought it was better than the line,” Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson said. “There were a lot of soft hits. They did a nice job of getting his pitch count up, but he battled through the six and that was huge for us.”

Wheeler is a native of Atlanta who a They are brave‘ fan. He is 10-7 with a 3.16 ERA in 24 career starts against Atlanta. He was 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in three starts They are brave In 2022, he struck out 25 innings and walked just one in 20 innings

Philadelphia closer Craig Kimbrel, who began his career with Atlanta, became the eighth player to reach 400 saves when he finished the game. They are brave on Friday. Kimbrel allowed a walk, but got Ronald Acuna Jr. to end the game with a harmless ground ball. It was Kimbrel’s sixth save of the season

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His Philadelphia teammates celebrated by pouring water on Kimbrel’s head, and he didn’t seem to mind.

“This is the first time I’ve had that,” Kimbrel said. “As a pitcher, we’re not used to hitting cruiserweights. I just inhaled it. I thought it was coming, but I kind of forgot about it in the middle of the inning.”

Atlanta’s Marcell Ozuna continued his wild stretch at the plate. Ozuna went 3-4 with his 11th homer and raised his batting average to .238. In May, he lost three games in a row and nine times in 19 games. He has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games.

Atlanta also saw positive signs from Michael Harris II, who spent time on the disabled list with a back injury and saw his average drop to .163 on Monday. Harris has been working on his swing with Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and had two back-to-back at-bats, including a home run, on Friday.

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“Good for him,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “You know he’s going to hit. Hopefully it’s a good stepping stone for him.”

— Field Level Media