For 14 consecutive seasons the Atlanta Braves sat atop the division. At the beginning that was the National League West but most of the victorious seasons came against the competitive National League East division. For some of the seasons the Braves main competition was the New York Mets. Soon however, that gave way to the much improved Philadelphia Phillies barking at the Braves door.
Year after year the Phillies were picked as the team to unseat the Braves and yet they kept falling short. Ever since the Wild Card was inserted into the Major League Baseball playoffs, either the Braves or the Phillies won the division for 16 out of 17 seasons. When the Braves streak ended, the Phillies began to dominate the NL East for a while. The rivalry is different now.
Now neither team is battling to unseat the other. Both teams are fighting it out to be the one that unseats the Washington Nationals from the top of the division and both are good enough to do it. Opening night in Atlanta should be a great baseball game to watch. Cole Hamels is going for the Phillies against the veteran ace Tim Hudson of the Braves. Expect both to have their A game as they go against one another.
The Braves are much improved over last season but the healthy returns of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard speak the same of the Phillies. Both teams are chomping at the bit to get at the Nationals. Which one has the best chance will likely come down to the many games they play against one another this season. There is no impression like the first impression and that happens opening night at Turner Field.