|4:35 PM PT5:35 PM MT6:35 PM CT7:35 PM ET19:35 ET23:35 GMT7:35 4:35 PM MST6:35 PM EST7:05 PM VEN3:35 UAE (+1)6:35 PM CT, April 18, 2018
SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Georgia Attendance: 22,135
Phillies, Braves could be destined for another close one
If past performances are any indication of future events, the finale of the three-game series between Atlanta and Philadelphia should be a close one.
The Braves won the first game 2-1 on Monday and the Phillies took a 5-1 victory in 10 innings Tuesday. The finale promises another potential pitching duel.
The matchup is a repeat of the third game of the season. Atlanta sends veteran right-hander Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 3.31 ERA) against Philadelphia right-hander Vince Velasquez (1-1, 3.52).
McCarthy got the best of that first matchup. He worked 5 1/3 innings in his Atlanta debut and the Braves won the game 15-2, a contest made notable by Philadelphia manager Gabe Kapler's decisions that burned through the bullpen
McCarthy was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the offseason in the Matt Kemp trade. He has provided the sort of veteran presence needed for the young pitching staff. In three starts, McCarthy has not allowed more than three runs. The Braves have won all three games he's started.
McCarthy is coming off a no-decision against Washington. He pitched five innings and allowed only one run on four hits. He left that game early because of a partial dislocation of his left shoulder. Trainers appeared to pop the shoulder back into place before helping him off the field.
"There's positions I shouldn't put my arm in," McCarthy said. "If I'm doing something else, I wouldn't put it in that position. In a game situation, sometimes it's just going to happen. It's something that has to be surgically repaired at some point. I just didn't want to do it for this season."
McCarthy will be making his fifth career start against Philadelphia. He's 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 25 1/3 innings.
Velasquez only lasted 2 2/3 innings in his first start against the Braves. He allowed seven runs (four earned) on nine hits, including a double and a triple, and two walks.
He's been outstanding since that bumpy beginning. Velasquez allowed one run over six innings April 7 against Miami. In his last start against Tampa Bay, Velasquez received a no-decision in a game the Phillies eventually won 2-1. Velasquez pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed one run on four hits and one walk, with a season-high seven strikeouts.
"I think we are learning from each other as a pitching staff and I think that, together as a team, is what makes us strong," Velasquez said. "I think that will last us and carry on through to the end of the season."
Velasquez has never beaten the Braves. He is 0-2 with a 3.77 ERA in five starts. In 28 2/3 innings he's struck out 28 batters and walked eight. He's allowed only two home runs against Atlanta.
Atlanta continues its homestand Thursday with a four-game set against the National League East-leading New York Mets. Philadelphia returns home to begin a three-team homestand that begins Thursday with four games against Pittsburgh.
The Braves travel to Philadelphia for a three-game series that begins on April 27.
Updated April 17, 2018