By: Chandler Ragsdale
The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies just wrapped up a 3-game set over the weekend. The Braves won the series 2-1, and after following the series, I’ve seen a lot of things that fans of either of these teams should be excited about.
For starters, everyone was ecstatic about the Major League debut of 20 year old Ronald Acuña Jr. He definitely didn’t disappoint, with already marking his first career hit, home run, stolen base, and diving catch all in one weekend! He shows so much passion while on the diamond, and he will be a great player for the Braves in not only years to come, but also THIS season.
The Braves have not only Acuña Jr. to look to, but they also have young talent from the likes of Ozzie Albies (21), Mike Foltynewicz (26), Sean Newcomb (24), and Dansby Swanson (24). This is exciting in itself, but they also have some great, more experienced players to help compliment and mentor the younger guys. Freddie Freeman, Ender Inciarte, and Nick Markakis have all been valuable to this team so far this season and are holding their own.
The Phillies also have some things to be excited about moving forward. During Saturday’s game, Center Fielder Odubel Herrera made a BEAUTIFUL play by robbing Freddie Freeman of a home run. He jumped high enough to reach over the fence, into the bushes, to catch the ball and rob Freeman of the home run. Not only is he a key component to this team, but previous free-agent signings Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta are helping this team to compete, while Aaron Nola seems to be solidifying himself as an Ace as well. This team has a lot going for them currently, and with manager Gabe Kapler bringing a new management style to the Major Leagues, there is a lot of optimism in the city of brotherly love right now regarding baseball.
Both of these teams were pretty bad last year, but after this past weekend series, they both find themselves at 16-11. This is very encouraging for both teams, and they aren’t just off to a hot start that will fizzle away. Both of these teams are legit and have the players to keep them going for a long time to come. The NL East talk is all about the Mets and Nationals right now, but don’t be surprised if the Braves or Phillies sneak up and take the division crown this season. And if not this season, the division title will definitely be back in Atlanta or Philadelphia sometime soon.
Source for statistics and facts: mlb.com