Visit from Braves could help struggling Phillies pitching staff this weekend

Through five series this season the Phillies offense has been surprisngly solid, measuring right smack in the middle of all 30 MLB frachises in every category from batting average to home runs to runs scored.

One would expect that an average offense paired with a pitching staff with youth and potential could put the Phillies in surprisingly competitive shape, but Philly’s arms have been pretty dreadful through the season’s first three weeks.

The Phillies’ team ERA was 4.73 Thursday, the third worst in baseball. Their batting average against is in the bottom 10 and their bullpen has been positively dreadful. They also lost Clay Buchholz for the entire season and have called up Zach Eflin to take his spot in the rotation — giving the Phils the youngest starting five in the majors.

Luckily, the scheduling gods have given the Phillies a respite, as a trio of games at home against the Braves gives them a chance to fight their way out from last place in the NL East.

Jeremy Hellickson will get the nod Friday night, a 7:05 start against the ageless Bartolo Colon, who at 43 has an impressive 2.43 ERA in Philly over his last five starts. Then the one-two punch from Philadelphia’s best starters continues as Jerad Eickhoff takes the mound in Game 2, a night game on Saturday, opposite Jamie Garcia.

In a Sunday 1:35 matinee, Eflin will get his first start at The Bank this season, opposed by another young starter in Atlanta’s Mike Foltynewicz.

The Phils continue the homestand for three more after taking Monday off as the Marlins come to town for the first time before a seven-game road swing that will take the squad to L.A. and then Chicago.

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