Braves hope to flex their muscles ahead of critical series with the Phillies

MLB: JUN 09 Nationals at Braves

The Braves are the hottest team in baseball.

Atlanta has strung together six straight wins and has won 13 of their 16 games in June after a lackadaisical month of May. And it’s a good thing too because the other two teams with the best records in baseball in June lie in the NL East. Both the Phillies and Marlins are looking like legitimate playoff contenders, yet they haven’t been able to make up any ground in the division. The Braves now sit 2.5 games clear of the Diamondbacks for the best record in the NL, and they are just a few games behind the Rays for the best record in baseball.

The Braves offense has been the catalyst for their recent form. There isn’t an easy out in the lineup, with Michael Harris II looking like the man who took home the NL Rookie of the Year last season and Eddie Rosario homering six times in his last five games. The Braves currently have seven players on pace to cruise past the 20 home run mark on the season. They are near the top of the league in every offensive category, and they just seem to be hitting their stride as we move into the summer months. It doesn’t appear as if they can be stopped, but the Phillies should provide a formidable opponent to begin this week.

Last year’s defending National League champions have also won six straight games, and despite not gaining any ground in the division, they are 13-4 in June. If they want to have any shot in the NL East, one would think they must win at least two out of three against the Braves at home. On the flip side, Atlanta has a real chance of taking a stranglehold of this division completely before even reaching July if they can continue to play their best baseball.

It all starts tonight with Spencer Strider looking to bounce back against Ranger Suarez of the Phillies. Game 2 pits the ultra-talented rookie, AJ Smith-Shawver, against Aaron Nola, with Bryce Elder scheduled to take the ball in Game 3 versus Taijuan Walker.

Photo: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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