Taking a deeper look at Braves’ season-long misery versus Phillies

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Taking a deeper look at Braves’ season-long misery versus Phillies

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 29: Odubel Herrera #37 of the Philadelphia Phillies hits an RBI single in the fourth inning during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park on July 29, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

The Braves’ inability to beat the Phillies might completely change one’s perception of their season.

Since 2012, the Braves own a 58-49 mark against the Phillies, their second-best record against any opponent (Miami, 64-40). But that hasn’t meant anything in 2017.

Philadelphia defeated the Braves again, 3-2 at SunTrust Park on Wednesday night. It completed a two-game sweep after a four-game sweep in Philadelphia from July 28-31. It was the first time the Phillies won a two-game series in Atlanta since 1977.

The Phillies have swept the Braves in three of four series this season.

The Braves are 2-11 against Philadelphia. They hold a 49-49 mark against the rest of baseball. Six of the 11 losses were by one run.

At 42-69, the Phillies have the worst record in the majors. Twenty-six percent of their wins have come over the Braves. No team has amassed over 20 percent of their wins against one team since the 2008 Nationals collected 12 of their 59 wins over the Braves.

“It’s just kind of the way we’ve been against these guys,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “Everybody pitches like they’re Bob Gibson against us, regardless of their history. I don’t know. It’s just one of them things. You can’t explain it.”

The Braves upended the Phillies seven consecutive times to end the 2016 season, but that success disappeared with the turn of the calendar. The team lost the first five meetings of 2017, then snuck in two wins before dropping the next six.

The Phillies have outscored the Braves 60-47 in 13 head-to-head meetings. The Braves scored 14 of those runs during a June 7 contest, but have tallied more than three against Philadelphia just three times.

“You can’t point to any one thing,” Snitker said. “… You’ve got guys who’ve been struggling, and they come in and they’re efficient with their pitches and go deep into games and we just can’t do anything with them. Not for lack of trying or not knowing or anything. It’s just the baseball quirk or something.”

One source of anguish has been Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera. He’s batting .434 (23-for-53) in 13 games against the Braves this season.

Herrera has a 16-game hitting streak against Atlanta, the longest since Ryan Howard had a 19-game streak versus the Braves from Sept. 4, 2007 to Sept. 17, 2008.

The Braves are in an exclusive club of misfortune: Every National League team except the Padres and Giants has more wins over Philadelphia. San Diego equaled the Braves’ two wins in just three tries, while San Francisco grabbed one win in a three-game set.

The American League’s Red Sox, Angels and Rangers have more wins over the Phillies, while the Mariners and Astros own two victories. The Braves have played the Phillies more than any team outside the Nationals, who own a 7-5 head-to-head mark.

Philadelphia’s dominance over the Braves has led to a 23-19 record against the NL East, including eight divisional wins in a row for the first time since 2010.

Wednesday’s loss ensured the Braves would lose the season series for the first time since 2011, when the 102-win Phillies took 12 of 18 games from the 89-win Braves.

The teams next meet in Philadelphia on Aug. 28-30. The Phillies are 7-0 against the Braves at Citizen’s Bank Park. The season series concludes at SunTrust Park on Sept. 22-24.

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