ATLANTA — Gregory Soto got his 1st taste of the Phillies-Braves rivalry Thursday evening. It did not go so hot.
The lefty Soto entered a tied game in the bottom of the eighth inning with left-handed-hitting Eddie Rosario and switch-hitting Ozzie Albies due up. Immediately after starting the frame by striking out pinch-hitter Kevin Pillar, Soto place 5 straight Braves on base — single, double, stroll, two-run single, single — and 3 of them came about to score in an eight-five Phillies loss.
It place a damper on an fascinating evening that had a huge-game really feel and incorporated Phillies comebacks to tie or take a lead in 3 separate innings.
Soto’s 1st two months in a Phillies uniform have been strange. To say he’s had ups and downs would be placing it lightly.
He could not throw strikes in two of his 1st 3 appearances, then permitted 1 hit and no earned runs more than his subsequent 11.
He was hit really hard on Could two at Dodger Stadium for 4 runs on 4 hits in two-thirds of an inning, then he went six straight outings devoid of enabling a hit or a run.
He was hit really hard once again on Could 17 in San Francisco, enabling 3 runs on 5 hits. Then he rebounded against the Cubs and Diamondbacks prior to providing up 3 extra runs on 4 hits in two-thirds of an inning Thursday evening.
“It is been frustrating, it really is been a small tricky due to the fact I either have definitely very good outings or definitely terrible outings,” Soto stated via Phillies interpreter Diego Ettedgui.
“I like moments like (tonight). I like rivalries like this. I really feel that I am prepared for them. All I can inform you is that I am going to maintain operating really hard.”
The 1st meeting of 2023 among the Phillies and Braves incorporated 5 dwelling runs. The only complete innings neither group scored have been the third and the sixth. Austin Riley demolished two of Aaron Nola’s offerings for homers that traveled 458 and 459 feet. Marcell Ozuna also took Nola deep.
But the Phillies came back in the second, fifth and seventh innings to either tie the Braves or take the lead. Alec Bohm launched a two-run shot to center. Bryce Harper homered 445 feet to suitable and began a rally two innings later with a two-out bunt single.
The Phillies hit. They just did not pitch.
“It is generally a grind against these guys,” stated Nola, who has created 32 profession begins against the Braves, 4 extra than he’s created against any group and 11 extra than he’s created against the Marlins, for instance.
Riley, Albies and Ronald Acuña Jr. have all observed Nola extra than they’ve observed any other huge-league pitcher.
“I’ve faced these guys like 50 instances,” he stated. “They have quite considerably the identical squad. They’ve got a very good club. It is not the final time I am going to face them. Throw this 1 behind me and get prepared for New York.”
This is a vital juncture for the 23-27 Phillies. They have nine extra games on their road trip against the Braves, Mets and Nationals. They are currently eight games behind the Braves in the division. They have shown flashes of their prospective but have not played constant baseball in any phase.
The 31-19 Braves have been far superior and have a clear identity as an offensive juggernaut. They lead the National League in slugging, OPS and runs per game.
The Phillies eliminated the Braves from the 2022 playoffs and are 37-37 against them dating back to the finish of 2018, so they know they can stand toe-to-toe with the group that has won 5 straight NL East crowns. But this is a new year. That magic carpet ride from October 2022 is just a memory.
“Coming in right here, we’ll never ever consider as a group that we can not beat these guys,” Harper stated. “They are a very good group. We’re a very good group, as effectively. We grinded at-bats definitely effectively. Riley took two very good swings and that was the distinction these days. Not as well shocked at the way each teams bounced back. We’ll see what takes place tomorrow.”