Ozzie Albies has finally heated up, and it coincides with the Atlanta Braves finally moving into first place in the National League East.
During the Braves’ current seven-game winning streak, Albies has a seven-game hitting streak. Over that time the second baseman is hitting .433 (13-of-30) with three home runs and nine RBIs. He has raised his average to .276, which has helped the Braves move to 40-29. It is the first time the team has been 11 games over .500 this season.
Albies is not the only one that has gotten hot. Over that same time Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr., Nick Markakis and Brian McCann are all hitting above .300 and have combined for 10 homers and 27 RBIs.
It is a good time for the Braves to be playing their best baseball as they welcome in the second-place Philadelphia Phillies (38-30), which trail the Braves by 1 1/2 games.
The teams met in the opening series of the season and Philadelphia came away with a three-game sweep.
The Phillies have lost three of their last four coming into the series.
Philadelphia is led by first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who is hitting .273 with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs. Offseason acquisition Bryce Harper is hitting only .250 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs, but has started to warm up as of late. Over his last 15 games he is hitting .328 with two homers and 12 RBIs.
Max Fried (7-3, 3.75 ERA) will open the series against the Phillies. Fried has struggled of late going 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA over his last three starts. He went six innings in his last start, giving up three runs on six hits.
The Braves beat Miami, but Fried got a no-decision. Philadelphia will open with Nick Pivetta (4-1, 4.93). He is coming off his best start of the season when he threw a complete game against Cincinnati. He allowed six hits and one run in a 4-1 win.
Saturday, Sean Newcomb (1-0, 2.59) will make his third start of the season and first since April 7 as he fills in for the injured Kevin Gausman. Newcomb has become a solid member of the Braves bullpen. In his last outing he pitched 4 2/3 innings and earned the win in relief against Pittsburgh. The Phillies are expected to counter with Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.58).
Sunday, Mike Foltynewicz (1-5, 6.02) will get the ball to close the series. The Phillies have yet to announce a starter.
Friday, the Braves celebrate the U.S. Army’s birthday. They will pay tribute to the over 57 million service members who have served since its creation in 1775 with a special pregame ceremony and salute a local hero. There will also be Friday night fireworks after the game.
Saturday is local heroes night as the Braves honor the community first responders. In addition, all gates will be open three hours before gametime so everyone can watch batting practice. C2 & The Brothers Reed, a 1960s and 70s style rock band will play on the Georgia Power Pavilion stage from 5:30 p.m. — 6:30 p.m. as part of the Plaza Concert Series.
Sunday if Freddie and Ozzie Height Chart Day. The first 5,000 kids 14 and under through the gates will receive a Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies height chart.
Everyone can get an autograph from some great Braves during Alumni Sunday. Bob Horner, Sonny Jackson, Chris Hammond and Craig Skok will be signing at the Georgia Power Pavilion from 11:30 a.m. — 12:30 p.m. (Game ticket is required).
After the game, kids (14 & under) and their dads can run the bases just like the Braves.
On the air
All three games can be seen on Fox Sports South and heard on 1410 AM WLAQ and 96.9 FM. Televison broadcasts for Friday and Saturday will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday’s broadcast will start at 1 p.m.