The Atlanta Braves, reportedly armed with a bunch of younger players, will face the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in Pennsylvania on Thursday. The event, which will stretch to four games over the entire weekend, will see the Phillies without their left-handed star pitcher Colbert Michael Hamels. Meanwhile, Atlanta's Shelby Miller is looking forward for the team's first victory since May as his most recent attempt to do so once again proved to be futile.
It could be recalled that Atlanta lost to the St. Louis Cardinals last Saturday - with sports analysts attributing the lost to the lack, or absence of running support for Miller. Kevin Burkhardt of FOX Sports notes this problematic situation via social media and posted, "How about this from Shelby Miller: 9th time this year he hasn't gotten a single run of support. Most in the league."
Spectators observing the trading style of Atlanta pointed out a pattern followed by the team - shedding out old players and bringing in new ones, particularly younger pitchers. With that in mind, Thursday will see the effectivity of this strategy as Miller takes another shot at proving that Atlanta has been trekking the right direction all along. As for the Phillies, the Penn team has yet to find a replacement for Hamels - hopefully, just in time to beat the non-waiver trade deadline on Friday.
Apart from Miller, Atlanta could also definitely count on other MLB starters to boost their performance this weekend. Julio Teheran and Alex Wood, two more notable starters, could prove to be particularly effective especially when teamed up with promising rookies in the big league team such as Matt Wisler, Manny Banuelos and Williams Perez.
As for the Phillies, Tuesday saw the departure of pro pitcher Jonathan Papelbon to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Nick Pivetta - a move that could be a nod to the increasingly popular trend of teams seeking ways to build stables of young arms. "Just to give you a little background on Nick, strapping, big arm, a guy who our scouts liked quite a bit," shared Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. upon the announcement of the trade, according to Comcast Sportsnet.
Amaro, Jr. added, "We've seen him quite a bit over the last couple of years and we like the arm. It's one of those guys that is a starting pitching prospect that will add some more depth to what we are trying to do. This is all part of the process of what everyone calls a rebuild, but obviously pitching is a big part of it, starting pitching in general."
As for Hamels, the Phillies want the best offers in for their left-handed ace by the final hours of Wednesday. At the moment, no further information is available on the status of this player but Hamels made it very clear that he wants to be transferred to an MLB team considered as a contender. Meanwhile, Jerome Williams, Aaron Harang and Chad Billingsley are all confirmed to become free agents by the end of the season. Hence, the 2016 starting rotation of the Phillies will only have David Buchanan, Severino Gonzales, Adam Morgan and Aaron Nola, along with the young pitchers in the team, as options.
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