What to expect from Phils-Braves a week after first series originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
This Phillies-Braves series probably won’t play out the same way.
Since the Braves left South Philly, both teams have won a series. The Phillies took two of three at home from the Mets, while the Braves took two of three in D.C. Tonight is Atlanta’s home opener.
One of the most recited stats of the Phillies’ season-opening sweep of the Braves was the 3-for-44 combined line for the top four hitters in Atlanta’s lineup: Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna. It was actually the first time in Freeman’s career that he’s gone hitless in a three-game series against the Phillies.
As Braves analyst Jeff Francoeur pointed out during the Mets series, Atlanta actually ranked in the top-five in the majors in exit velocity in the series against the Phillies, indicating they hit into some tough luck. Either way, it’s unlikely Atlanta’s offense remains that cold. The Braves will be locked in, trying to exact revenge on the Phils for last weekend.
Acuña was on fire in D.C. after doing nothing in Philly. In his last three games, he’s 5 for 11 with two homers, a double, four RBI, four runs scored and two steals.
Freeman hasn’t gotten that hot yet, but he also looks like he’s rounding into form. He homered in his first at-bat of the Nationals series and reached base in three of four plate appearances in the middle game.
Neither team’s opening day starter, Aaron Nola or Max Fried, will pitch this weekend.
Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday at 7:20 on NBCSP+: Zack Wheeler vs. Charlie Morton
Saturday at 7:20 on NBCSP+: Zach Eflin vs. Ian Anderson
Sunday at 7:08 on ESPN: LHP Matt Moore vs. LHP Drew Smyly
Smyly has pitched one career inning against the Phillies back in 2013. He’s pitched 32 1/3 innings since leaving the Phils after 2019 and has a 3.34 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 10 walks. The Braves signed Smyly and Morton to one-year deals worth $26 million combined.
The Phillies’ offense also broke out in its last game, scoring eight runs with seven extra-base hits. They had homered just twice in their first 43 innings before going deep three times on Wednesday.