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Phillies host sizzling Braves on Wednesday
By: Staff Writer - StatFox
Published: 5/23/2018  at  9:41:00 AM
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The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies will meet on Wednesday as the top two teams in the National League East. They won't face each other again until the next-to-last week of the season.

The first-place Braves (29-18) and second-place Phillies (27-19) play at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park. It's their 12th meeting of the season, and the Braves are going for their fourth series win against the Phillies.

Atlanta has won seven of its first 11 games against the Phillies this season, and the team is 20-10 against divisional opponents. The Braves won't see the Phillies after Wednesday until Sept. 20 in Atlanta.

"We knew coming in it's going to be a tough series," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "There are two good teams going at it, that play really good baseball. It's some aggressive baseball, well-pitched on both sides. (Wednesday) night will be much the same, I'm sure."

There will be a fresh pitching matchup in the series finale as both teams will see an opposing starter for the first time in 2018.

Jake Arrieta will be on the mound for the Phillies. The veteran right-hander is coming off the shortest of his eight outings in a Philadelphia uniform. Arrieta gave up four runs (two earned) on five hits and made it through just three innings after a 95-minute rain delay against the St. Louis Cardinals last Friday.

"Just really wasn't that good, and it just compounded later in the game," Arrieta told mlb.com after the start. "I didn't do my job of establishing strikes early, which makes it harder for the guys coming in after me. Tough conditions, a delay, but you can't really use that as an excuse because those guys have to deal with the same circumstances. Just one to forget."

Arrieta has yet to face the Braves this season, but he has a 2.76 ERA and 0.980 WHIP against the franchise in five career starts.

The Phillies are looking to snap a four-game losing streak in Arrieta's starts. They'll face Braves left-hander Luiz Gohara in the series finale.

Gohara is making his first start of the season for the Braves. The 21-year-old started the season on the disabled list with an ankle injury but has made three appearances out of the bullpen in the last two weeks.

Gohara has given up just one run and two hits in seven innings as a reliever, and the Braves will see what he can do as a starter.

"It's a good opportunity to get him stretched back out," Snitker said. "Every time he's been out, it's kind of kicked up a tick. We needed a starter for (Wednesday), so it's a good opportunity to get him back out there and get him stretched out again."

Gohara, listed at 6-foot-3, 265 pounds, made five starts for Atlanta at the end of the 2017 season. He had a 4.91 ERA in those starts, but he registered 31 strikeouts in 29 1/3 innings while walking eight batters.

"That's the thing that impressed us last year when he came up, the quality of his stuff, how electric it was," Snitker said of Gohara, a native of Brazil. "But he's a big guy and got the strike zone."

Gohara made one start against the Phillies last season, and it was the best of his brief major league career. Gohara had nine strikeouts while limiting the Phillies to one run in seven innings on Sept. 24, 2017.

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