The Philadelphia Phillies stand atop the NL East after one week. They take on the Atlanta Braves in NL action on Saturday afternoon. The Phillies will be starting Zach Eflin, and the Braves will send Ian Anderson to the hill. The Phillies swept the Braves last weekend, and Atlanta rebounded with an 8-1 win in Friday's series opener.
Eflin Shines, Phillies Dominate Opening Week
Zach Eflin will be on the hill for the second time this year. Eflin was outstanding in his first performance, holding the potent Braves lineup to just one run on four hits in seven innings, leading to the tough no-decision in a game the Phillies won by a 2-1 score. The five-year veteran right-hander is coming off a career year, posting a 3.97 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in 2020. Eflin has fared well against the Braves, posting a 5-3 record and a stellar 3.22 ERA.
The Phillies enjoyed an outstanding opening week. First, they swept the Braves and won two of three over the Mets. The bullpen was terrible in 2020 however, so far so good for Philly’s bullpen. The Phillies pitching staff is sporting a 1.05 WHIP on the year.
Alex Bohm has driven in two runs in three games against the Braves this season. The 24-year old third baseman had a tremendous rookie year in 2020 registering a .338 average and could be an elite hitter at the Major League level. Blohm launched a three-home jack on Wednesday and has five RBI's on the season.
The Phillies are scoring an average of 4.34 runs per game, landing them 14th overall. They bring a terrific 2.62 team ERA into this one, good for fifth in the Majors.
Anderson Silences Phillies in Opening Start
Ian Anderson will make his second outing of the season on Saturday. Anderson was fantastic in his season debut, holding this Phillies lineup to one run on only four hits in five innings, however, he received no run support in a tough 2-1 loss. The second-year right-hander was outstanding in his first big league action in 2020, registering a sparkling 1.95 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP accompanied by a 3-2 record in six starts.
Marcell Ozuna feasted on the Phillies’ pitching last season, registering a .325 average along with 11 RBI’s in 40 at-bats, but went 1 for 11 against Philly last weekend. The 30-year old slugger accumulated a remarkable 56 RBI’s in 2020 and it’s been a slow start this year as the veteran only has two hits and zero RBIs.
Atlanta has recovered from their disastrous 0-4 start which included a sweep in the opening series against this Phillies squad with a series win over the Nationals. The offense has been inconsistent while the pitching has been outstanding.
The Braves are averaging 2.83 runs on the season, pegging them down at 28th in the big leagues. They feature a 3.40 team ERA, placing them 10th in the Majors.
The Philadelphia Phillies are:
- 5-12 in their last 17 games in Atlanta.
- 1-6 in their last 7 road games.
The Atlanta Braves are:
- 4-1 in their last 5 home games against a right-handed starter.
- 41-19 in their last 60 home games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Braves have rebounded nicely from their three-game sweep against this Phillies squad last weekend with a series win over the Nationals. The Bats are heating up as Atlanta has now scored at least five runs in three out of their last four games overall. Braves’ starter Ian Anderson limited the Phillies to only one run in six innings last weekend and I expect the talented right-hander to benefit from more run support this time.
Furthermore, while the Phillies have a winning record, the offense hasn’t stood out. They only scored a combined nine runs in three games against this Braves pitching staff last week and one run in Friday's rough 8-1 loss.
Full-Game Total Pick
Braves' starter Ian Anderson will have a big impact on the total of this game. The right-hander has been incredible through his first seven career Major League performances. He has allowed two or fewer runs in all but one of those outings. I see no reason why his success won't continue in this one after tossing a gem against Philly last week. The under is 6-2 in the Braves’ last eight games overall.
In addition, the under cashed in all three meetings in Philly in the opening series. Phillies’ starter Zach Eflin features a solid 3.22 carer ERA against Atlanta. The under is also 4-1 in the last five clashes between these division rivals.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The under on the Phillies team total is worth a look. The Phillies have now scored four or fewer runs in five of their seven games this season. They have only clubbed five home runs and have managed only 10 runs in their four games against the Braves this season including just one run in Friday’s series-opening loss.
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
I am taking Ian Anderson to record the win. Anderson posted a dazzling 1.23 ERA at home last season and as mentioned he neutralized the Phillies in his first start of this season. The Braves offense has found a groove and I expect them to provide the right-hander with run support.