ATLANTA — Gregory Soto obtained his first style of the Phillies-Braves rivalry Thursday evening. It did not go so sizzling.
The lefty Soto entered a tied sport within the backside of the eighth inning with left-handed-hitting Eddie Rosario and switch-hitting Ozzie Albies due up. After starting the body by hanging out pinch-hitter Kevin Pillar, Soto put 5 straight Braves on base — single, double, stroll, two-run single, single — and three of them got here round to attain in an 8-5 Phillies loss.
It put a damper on an thrilling evening that had a big-game really feel and included Phillies comebacks to tie or take a lead in three separate innings.
Soto’s first two months in a Phillies uniform have been unusual. To say he is had ups and downs can be placing it calmly.
He could not throw strikes in two of his first three appearances, then allowed one hit and no earned runs over his subsequent 11.
He was hit exhausting on Could 2 at Dodger Stadium for 4 runs on 4 hits in two-thirds of an inning, then he went six straight outings with out permitting a success or a run.
He was hit exhausting once more on Could 17 in San Francisco, permitting three runs on 5 hits. Then he rebounded towards the Cubs and Diamondbacks earlier than giving up three extra runs on 4 hits in two-thirds of an inning Thursday evening.
“It has been irritating, it has been somewhat troublesome as a result of I both have actually good outings or actually unhealthy outings,” Soto mentioned by way of 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’ll maintain working exhausting.”
The primary assembly of 2023 between the Phillies and Braves included 5 dwelling runs. The one full innings neither staff scored have been the third and the sixth. Austin Riley demolished two of Aaron Nola’s choices for homers that traveled 458 and 459 ft. Marcell Ozuna additionally took Nola deep.
But the Phillies got here again within the second, fifth and seventh innings to both tie the Braves or take the lead. Alec Bohm launched a two-run shot to middle. Bryce Harper homered 445 ft to proper and began a rally two innings later with a two-out bunt single.
The Phillies hit. They only did not pitch.
“It is all the time a grind towards these guys,” mentioned Nola, who has made 32 profession begins towards the Braves, 4 greater than he is made towards any staff and 11 greater than he is made towards the Marlins, for instance.
Riley, Albies and Ronald Acuña Jr. have all seen Nola greater than they’ve seen every other big-league pitcher.
“I’ve confronted these guys like 50 occasions,” he mentioned. “They’ve just about the identical squad. They have a great membership. It isn’t the final time I’ll face them. Throw this one behind me and prepare for New York.”
It is a essential juncture for the 23-27 Phillies. They’ve 9 extra video games on their highway journey towards the Braves, Mets and Nationals. They’re already eight video games behind the Braves within the division. They’ve proven flashes of their potential however haven’t performed constant baseball in any part.
The 31-19 Braves have been far superior and have a transparent id as an offensive juggernaut. They lead the Nationwide League in slugging, OPS and runs per sport.
The Phillies eradicated the Braves from the 2022 playoffs and are 37-37 towards them courting again to the tip of 2018, so that they know they’ll stand toe-to-toe with the staff that has gained 5 straight NL East crowns. However this can be a new yr. That magic carpet experience from October 2022 is only a reminiscence.
“Coming in right here, we’ll by no means suppose as a staff that we won’t beat these guys,” Harper mentioned. “They seem to be a good staff. We’re a great staff, as nicely. We grinded at-bats rather well. Riley took two good swings and that was the distinction at present. Not too shocked on the method each groups bounced again. We’ll see what occurs tomorrow.”
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