Phillies (40-69) at Braves (51-59)
7:35 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App
The Phillies finally reached 40 wins by beating Rockies closer Greg Holland on Sunday, becoming the last team in the majors to do so. It took them 11 days longer than it took the Giants and more than a week longer than it took the White Sox.
Now the Phils move on to Atlanta for the third and final leg of their eight-game road trip. It's just a two-game series vs. the Braves, the Phils' final two-gamer of the season.
Despite their season-long struggles, the Phillies have dominated this series recently, winning nine of the last 11 meetings.
1. Trouble for Teheran
The Phillies face Braves right-hander Julio Teheran for the second time in nine days and hope for a repeat of July 28. They chased Teheran with three homers and eight runs in 4⅔ innings at Citizens Bank Park.
Amazingly, it was the sixth time this season Teheran has allowed at least six runs. He allowed nine runs to the Blue Jays, eight to the Phillies, seven to the Reds, Brewers and Nationals and six to the Mets. It's been a truly troubling season for a 26-year-old who had a 3.21 ERA last season.
Teheran bounced back in his last start, allowing three runs to the Dodgers in five innings. (Giving up only three runs to this Dodgers team is cause for celebration.)
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Against the Phillies, we just saw a lot of poorly located pitches from Teheran. Aaron Altherr's solo blast came on a 92 mph fastball right down the middle and high. The next batter, Cameron Rupp, belted a hanging slider for a homer. Later, Tommy Joseph cranked another hangling slider right down the middle for a three-run homer.
In 125⅓ innings this season, Teheran has allowed 27 home runs, the most in the National League. Ricky Nolasco (28) is the only major-league pitcher to allow more.
Rupp (9 for 24, two doubles, HR) and Freddy Galvis (10 for 24, double, triple, three walks) have done a lot of damage against Teheran. On the flipside, Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera are a combined 6 for 44 (.136).
The worst from Teheran has come at Atlanta's new ballpark, SunTrust Park, which is more favorable to hitters than Turner Field was. In 11 starts in his new digs, Teheran is 1-7 with a 6.91 ERA.
2. Eflin gets another chance
The Phillies recalled Zach Eflin from Triple A to make the start Tuesday night (see story). It's his first start in the majors since May 28.
Eflin was roughed up before missing a month with an elbow injury from late May to late June, allowing 22 runs and a .462 opponents' batting average in 15 innings over his final three starts.
But he's pitched very well in two career meetings with the Braves. Eflin allowed one run on three hits over seven innings vs. Atlanta in his best start of the season on April 23. Last season, he pitched one of his two complete games against the Braves, allowing one run and striking out a career-high six.
Current Braves have hit just .179 off Eflin. Freddie Freeman, somehow, some way, is 0 for 6.
3. The catching situation
With Andrew Knapp going on the DL retroactive to Aug. 4, Jorge Alfaro will be up with the Phillies for at least another week. Alfaro went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles in his lone start at Coors Field over the weekend.
Phillies fans will want to see more of Alfaro this week but don't be surprised if Cameron Rupp gets equal playing time, if not more. Alfaro represents the future but it's hard to sit Rupp right now while he's on a hot streak. Since dipping below .200 on June 22, Rupp has hit .345 over his last 17 starts with five doubles, five homers, 11 RBIs and 12 runs.
Even if his long-term future is not as the Phillies' starting catcher, Rupp has a chance over these final two months to build some trade value and prove to other teams he can be a starting-caliber player. His defense behind the plate is not the best but it's hard to argue with the power he's shown these last two seasons.
Rupp has a .751 OPS since the start of 2016, which is 40 points higher than the league average from catchers over that span.
4. Ever-consistent Cesar
Cesar Hernandez continues to be a consistent table-setter. He's reached base at least twice in nine straight games.
Since coming back from the DL on July 17, Hernandez has hit .346 with a .441 on-base percentage in 93 plate appearances. He has as many walks (12) as strikeouts, and he's 6 for 6 in stolen base attempts.
Hernandez has been much better on the basepaths this season. He's 12 for 15 stealing bases after going just 17 for 30 last season, when he became the first player in a decade to be caught that many times in that few attempts.
There are 20 players across the majors who have had at least 600 plate appearances out of the leadoff spot the last two seasons. Hernandez's .382 OBP ranks third, behind only Matt Carpenter and Charlie Blackmon. His .295 batting average ranks fourth, behind Blackmon, Jean Segura and Ender Inciarte.
5. This and that
• The Phillies are 21-19 this season against the NL East and 19-50 against everyone else.
• Matt Kemp is still out with the hamstring injury he suffered against the Phillies on July 28.
• The Braves have quietly (and inexpensively) gotten very impressive production from their catchers Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki. Combined, they've hit .284/.366/.485. The only team in the majors that has gotten a higher OPS from its catchers is the Cubs.