5 things to know entering Braves’ final homestand

Braves infielders Freddie Freeman (background) and Austin Riley celebrate after the Braves defeated the San Diego Padres Tuesday, July 20, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. (John Bazemore/AP)
Caption
Braves infielders Freddie Freeman (background) and Austin Riley celebrate after the Braves defeated the San Diego Padres Tuesday, July 20, 2021, at Truist Park in Atlanta. (John Bazemore/AP)

Credit: AP

Five things to know about the Braves’ final homestand of the regular season, which begins Tuesday night with the opener of a three-game series against the Phillies:

1. The biggest storyline is whether the Braves, who have a 2-1/2-game lead over second-place Philadelphia in the National League East, will celebrate a fourth consecutive division championship. The soonest they can clinch is Thursday night, but that timing would require sweeping the series from the Phillies. Otherwise, the race will extend into the second series of the homestand, starting Friday night against the eliminated Mets.

2. The Braves enter the homestand with a .500 record (37-37) at Truist Park this season. By comparison, they are 46-35 on the road. The Braves’ road winning percentage ranks fifth-best in MLB, but their home winning percentage ranks 20th.

Pitcher comparison

3. Zack Wheeler, the East Paulding High School graduate who’ll start for the Phillies on Tuesday night, has a 1.35 ERA in four games against the Braves this season. He allowed one run or none across seven or more innings in three of the four starts and three runs in 4-2/3 innings in the other. Per FanGraphs, Wheeler ranks second among MLB pitchers in WAR, behind only Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes.

4. Both Freddie Freeman and Austin Riley are hitting .335 in 66 games since the All-Star break. Riley has a .985 OPS and Freeman a .943 OPS since the break. Freeman has hit seven home runs against the Phillies this season.

Caption
Braves home game against Philadelphia Phillies at Truist Park on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Braves home game against Philadelphia Phillies at Truist Park on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Caption
Braves home game against Philadelphia Phillies at Truist Park on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

5. With at least six home games remaining – seven if a rained-out game against Colorado has to be made up Monday – the Braves are on pace to finish second among the 30 MLB teams in attendance, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves have drawn slightly more than 2.1 million fans. The high ranking in attendance stems in part from the Braves reopening their stadium to full seating capacity earlier than all but one other MLB team (the Texas Rangers).

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