The Philadelphia Phillies were swept by the Chicago Cubs, one of the worst teams in the National League, over the weekend.
Now the Phillies must rebound to face one of the best teams in the league in the Atlanta Braves when they open a three-game series Monday in Philadelphia.
The Phillies fell 4-3 to the Cubs on Sunday and were outscored 25-7 in the three-game set.
“This game will put you on the highest of highs and lowest of lows,” said All-Star slugger Kyle Schwarber. “We have to keep doing what we were doing. We saw the results were there right before the break and we have to keep doing that.”
Before the All-Star break, the Phillies swept a three-game series on the road against the Miami Marlins. Following the break, the Phillies fell flat.
Interim manager Rob Thomson dropped Nick Castellanos from the No. 3 spot to No. 5 in the order Sunday. Castellanos went 1-for-4 with a single and two strikeouts.
The Phillies’ offense simply struggled once again without injured standouts Bryce Harper and Jean Segura. Both players are expected back sometime in August.
Schwarber, who leads the Phillies with 30 home runs, went 0-for-4 and saw his average drop to .205.
“It’s obviously frustrating,” Schwarber said. “Just have to have a short memory but learn from it.”
The Phillies will hand the ball to Ranger Suarez (7-5, 4.07 ERA), who is 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA in 12 career games (three starts) against Atlanta.
The Braves weren’t able to sweep a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels and fell 9-1 on Sunday. Still, the defending champs are 35-12 since June 1 and remain a clear threat to make a deep postseason run.
Ronald Acuna Jr. had two of the Braves’ six hits, but the All-Star also made a key throwing error.
Braves manager Brian Snitker, however, said that he’s not concerned about Acuna’s defense.
“He’s a baseball player,” Snitker said. “I don’t expect him to be perfect. I know that. There’s a kid coming off a major knee surgery.”
Max Fried (10-3, 2.64 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Braves. Fried is 4-3 with a 3.90 ERA in 15 career games with nine starts against the Phillies.
In Fried’s last start, the 50th of his career, he allowed seven hits and three runs in seven innings against the Washington Nationals.
“They had some really good at-bats and I would have liked to keep a couple more runs off the board, but the guys did a great job of grinding out at-bats and getting a good lead,” Fried said after the 6-3 triumph. “So I just had to try to hold it.”
Fried will not be backed on Sunday by outfielder Adam Duvall, who was lost for the season after injuring his left wrist against the left field wall Saturday against the Angels. Snitker said that Duvall tore a tendon and will have surgery this week.
Mike Ford was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett.
“That’s sad to hear,” Acuna said of Duvall. “I know what he’s going through because I went through it last year. I just wish him a really speedy recovery.”
–Field Level Media